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Jitlada - first time visit

r
radman123 Mar 25, 2010 10:01 AM

Here are my thoughts on my first time visit

Food A-
Price B+
Service B- (they were very nice, just not enough servers)
Would I go back? Yes, Defenitely
Bottom Line: Looking forward to trying more dishes on next visit

Grade: A
Crispy Morning Glory Salad - Fried Chinese Watercress salad with batter mix topped with fresh shrimp and a spicy house dressing $12.95
Excellent unique dish. Highly recommend.

Grade: A-
Thai Honey Ribs barbequed marinated pork ribs soft $9.95
grey in appearence but taste more than made up for it. Moist, fantastic ribs - the meat pulled right off the bone and sauce complemented the rib perfectly

Grade: C+ (Mussels) A- (Broth)
Steam Mussel fresh new zealand green missed steamed with lemon grass and mint leaves served with chili and garlic sauce $12.95
The quality of the mussels was very much lacking -- also way to big. The broth was very nice - with a hint of heat that catches up on you. Next time plan to get the soup / no mussels

Grade: B
Soft Shell Crab Roll. Deep Fried Softshee crab with fresh vegetables and glass noodles wrapped in steamed rice paper with house sauce
Fresh quality dish, but there was a real absense of any soft shell crab.

Grade: B
Sticky Rice $2.00

-----
Jitlada
5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

  1. c
    christy319 Apr 15, 2011 04:36 PM

    Will Jitlada be insanely busy at 8 pm on a Saturday night?

    -----
    Jitlada
    5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

    6 Replies
    1. re: christy319
      s
      suvro Apr 15, 2011 05:01 PM

      When we had gone on a Saturday night, we sat nearest to the restroom, and it took eons for the food to come out. Most likely scenario on any Saturday night!
      They really need to find a bigger location.

      1. re: christy319
        e
        exyalie Apr 15, 2011 05:34 PM

        My experience is that service is bad on a "slow" night and impossible on a busy night. For the sake of your mental health, I would pass the place by and find equally good food at one of the places nearby. I still remember my last horrible Jitlada experience... and the look on the faces of the poor folk at the neighboring table when some of their dishes arrived AFTER they were given their check.

        For a decidedly different experience, I would recommend Krua Siri at 5103 Hollywood Blvd. Especially order the Isan dishes, like catfish larb. Not a pretty restaurant but charming in its own right with great food!

        -----
        Jitlada
        5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

        Krua Siri
        5103 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

        1. re: exyalie
          c
          christy319 Apr 16, 2011 09:10 AM

          Ugh, sounds bad, I might take your advice. Would it be any better for Sunday lunch?
          And what about take out? I also have a solo work trip coming up and wouldn't mind getting some take out, unless that's really problematic too.

          1. re: christy319
            e
            exyalie Apr 16, 2011 01:02 PM

            It's all a question of what "trade-offs" you are willing to make. Some of the dishes at Jitlada are really good and in and of themselves worthy of the trip there. I, however, am not willing to put up with the level of service (I am now reminded of my lengthy and unsuccessful attempt to find our waiter only to discover him later hiding behind the bar playing video games on his cell phone.)

            I have never done take-out from there, but would *assume* it might be better. I am just no longer willing to give them my dollars and choose instead places that appreciate my patronage.

            -----
            Jitlada
            5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

            1. re: exyalie
              Servorg Apr 16, 2011 02:30 PM

              As an aside, did you ever try any of the Northern Thai food places that got recommended in this thread you started: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/764710 ?

              1. re: Servorg
                e
                exyalie Apr 16, 2011 02:44 PM

                I tried Krua Siri on Hollywood Blvd. and it was wonderful... I am in New York right now, but back to LA in mid-May and plan on doing a sampling of many of the places.... Just heard of a place in Garden Grove called Vientiane, and it is Lao/Thai. Sounds amazing and I am eager to give that place a try as well! (I promise to report back....)

                -----
                Krua Siri
                5103 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

      2. w
        wew Jan 9, 2011 10:44 AM

        Where can I get Grade: A sticky rice in L.A.?

        1 Reply
        1. re: wew
          ipsedixit Jan 9, 2011 11:24 AM

          Try LAX-C on the border of downtown LA. http://www.lax-c.com/

          Also, you can get Calrose rice at just about any market, incl. places like Ralphs, Pavilions, etc., as well as Chinese markets like Ranch 99, etc. Calrose rice makes really good sticky rice, but it's not Thai rice. If you want true Thai style sticky rice, it must actually be "Thai Sticky" which is a variety of sweet rice that may be a more difficult to locate.

        2. e
          exyalie Jan 7, 2011 09:02 PM

          Sorry, it's no longer what it was.

          We make several pilgrimages to Jitlada each year expecting some of the best Thai food in California. Often, we are pleasantly rewarded. But our most recent visits (including tonight's) have been far from acceptable. While some dishes can be stellar, others are just so-so, but the reason why we will not return is the service. As native New Yorkers, we are well experienced with uneven service. But at Jitlada, it varies from indifferent to surly.

          Examples: we waited 15 minutes for our initial order to be taken. The first dish arrived about another 15 minutes later. The second dish a whole half hour after we had completed the first. The third came out soon after but the kitchen forgot to add any flavor to it. The waiterperson never once checked in with us and offered no explanations or apologies.

          The worst was yet to come. Our server totally disappeared while we were trying to get the check. After a long, long wait, I went to the counter myself to pay and found him busily texting on his cellphone. But it seems that our experiences was not exceptional. The neighboring table received one of their dishes after they had requested and received their check.

          Less than professional service can be OK if the food compensates. Perhaps at one time this was the case here, but unfortunately no longer is.

          We will not be returning.

          -----
          Jitlada
          5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

          5 Replies
          1. re: exyalie
            c
            coffeebrownies Jan 7, 2011 09:05 PM

            What do you mean by " The third came out soon after but the kitchen forgot to add any flavor to it."?

            1. re: exyalie
              s
              suvro Jan 9, 2011 08:34 AM

              I have also experienced inefficient service at Jitlada. The first time I took my wife and daughter, it was one of Jazz's daughters who was waiting on our table. When we complained about not getting water even after requesting it several times, Jazz came out and apologized to us about the situation. They were so busy and are always understaffed that the service is permanently overwhelmed. On my last visit (over 1 year ago), we sat on a table near the toilet - which was not pleasant, and again the service was slow. We asked what was a fast appetizer, and essentially got something to munch on while it took the kitchen time to get our main dishes out on their own schedule!
              I wish they would get a bigger location, and add more waitstaff!

              -----
              Jitlada
              5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

              1. re: exyalie
                ipsedixit Jan 9, 2011 09:26 AM

                But how was the food? Aside from saying that "the kitchen forgot to add any flavor to" one particular dish -- which one? -- what else about the food was either good or bad?

                Reason I ask is because the service at Jitlada has always been somewhat of a disjointed operation.

                I put up with the lack of service because of the food. Now, if you are saying the food is also bad in addition to the service, then you're telling me something that is interesting and worthwhile.

                But if it's just the service that you found lacking, then I need bigger headlines than "the sky is blue" ...

                -----
                Jitlada
                5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  a
                  andytseng Feb 15, 2011 08:50 PM

                  I've never had surly service. It just seems like they can't handle how busy they have become (kitchen and waitstaff). I was there on Saturday and service was mediocre to not great, but I'll keep going back anyway.

                  1. re: andytseng
                    c
                    Clyde Feb 16, 2011 09:50 AM

                    they always forget to bring my rice! but yes, i'll keep going back.

              2. h
                hajimaji Jun 18, 2010 03:36 PM

                Hi All,
                so, is the southern menu STILL only in Thai, or have they printed it in english?
                I have printed out the translations from the boards, just wondering...

                first visit coming up!
                HM

                -----
                Jitlada
                5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                5 Replies
                1. re: hajimaji
                  s
                  SugarFrosted Jun 18, 2010 03:46 PM

                  It's in both languages. Hopefully that won't lead to more people who don't like spicy food going there and asking for "something that's not spicy" eventually ruining the whole menu for the rest of us. :-)

                  1. re: SugarFrosted
                    m
                    mdpilam Jun 18, 2010 06:56 PM

                    Last time I was there, we ordered off the Southern Thai menu - and requested "Thai spicy", and the food was not spicy.

                    Though, I attribute it to them trying to rush us in and out, since we were waiting for a while, and then the server asked if we would like to be seated at a table where their was a party of 15 coming at 9pm (it was 8:40pm when she asked this - we arrived at 8:15pm), but we would have to leave when the party arrived. She told us they probably wouldn't be there until 9:30pm anyways, and that they would put our orders through the kitchen first...

                    1. re: mdpilam
                      t
                      tastycakes Dec 15, 2010 08:30 AM

                      we have had issues with the heat level as well, asking for "thai spicy" and having the dishes be of varying degrees of spicy from utterly bland to incendiary. any thoughts on how to get the most "authentic" preparation? we have tried asking the server for it to be prepared "how the chef would cook it for himself" with mixed success.

                      1. re: tastycakes
                        ipsedixit Dec 15, 2010 08:40 AM

                        I think the key is (1) to go when they are not busy (ie. weeknights) and (2) with someone that speaks Thai.

                        1. re: tastycakes
                          s
                          sushigirlie Dec 15, 2010 01:50 PM

                          A couple of code words are "pet pet" and "pet ma." Thai waitstaff will trust you if you use those words. Also, you can ask for prik nam pla (bird chilis in fish sauce) and make any dish as spicy as you'd like. At the risk of being patronizing, however, not all Thai dishes are meant to be spicy. The essence of a good meal to Thai people is balance.

                  2. w
                    wanderlustre Mar 29, 2010 07:33 PM

                    I must say that I was very disappointed with the service during my visit.
                    Basically, the table sat after us got their food before we even got menus. As a matter of fact, I walked over to the register to grab my own menus. Being someone who works in the service industry; this is a huge red flag. A customer should never have to get out of their table for anything other than to use the restroom. Nobody paid me any mind.
                    Very disappointing.
                    The food was good. But, not great. Granted, I probably didn't order their best items. And, I didn't want to ask my terrible server for recs.
                    I will be happy to give them another chance and try some of the stuff you guys recommend.
                    But really. In an area with so many very tasty cheap options, they have to offer better service.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: wanderlustre
                      Steve2 in LA Mar 29, 2010 07:41 PM

                      Having been to Jitlada a number of times, I concur. The service is, at best poor (unless Jazz herself decides to serve you).and at worst, useless.

                      Knowing that, I'd never go for a meal if I had to eat and run. Luckily, I rarely do that so, it's no problem kicking back, chatting with my guests, drinking a beer and waiting for the food to a) straggle to the table,b) arrive ALL at once or on occasion, c) not arrive at all. However, any time the food DOES arrive, the dining experience so outweighs ANY issues one might have with the service. . . fact is, you might not mind serving yourself the next time..

                      While this service wouldn't be acceptable at Spago (I go there too) it's their the status quo . Remember when you revisit, nobody goes for the service. Give it another try, have a cocktail .. or 4 before you go.

                      -----
                      Jitlada
                      5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                      Spago
                      176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                      1. re: wanderlustre
                        ipsedixit Mar 29, 2010 09:08 PM

                        As an Asian eatery, you have to expect sort of nonchalant service.

                        Be aggressive about what you want, how you want it, and when you want it. Then everything will take care of itself.

                        Complaining about service, or the lack thereof, at most Asian restaurants is sort of like driving a Hummer and complaining about the gas mileage, or lack thereof.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          s
                          suvro Mar 30, 2010 12:35 PM

                          On our last but one visit, we got really poor service. It was an issue of being under-staffed. The few waitpersons (I think both her daughters) could not keep up with the pace of orders. The main problem was we needed water to cool off our taste buds, and we waited and waited... till I went into the kitchen and asked for it again. Jazz later came out and apologized and wanted to make sure that the food was to our liking.

                          On the last visit I made sure to order a simple appetizer - this came out quickly (I don't remember what it was) - along with the Singha beer - and we were then able to handle the wait for the main items to come out.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            l
                            losfelizhound Mar 30, 2010 01:14 PM

                            I think there is a difference between nonchalance, and ineffectiveness. At a number of Asian eateries that I go to, I expect the service to be nonchalant (it usually is) but at the same time it is effective, i.e., they get the job done.

                            My problem with Jitla Da is that it is not just nonchalant, but also ineffective, i.e. they don't get the job done. On our last visit, one of the entrees we ordered was served *after* we had finished our meal (and in spite of a couple of requests about its status). That said, the food is great, but sometimes one just get tired of the service, and has enough options to allocate limited resources.

                            That said, with a Hummer you are already expecting a low mpg, but if the actual mpg, is significantly lower than your already low expectations, then, I think it is valid to raise a stink.

                            1. re: losfelizhound
                              ipsedixit Mar 30, 2010 02:31 PM

                              Well, my Hummer H3 has a listed mpg of 13/16 (city/hwy), and I've always expected much less -- around 8/10.

                              So, when I get a real world mpg of something like 5/8 ... I'm ok with it.

                              1. re: losfelizhound
                                b
                                bsquared2 Mar 30, 2010 08:57 PM

                                Having had many meals in SEA (including Thailand), dishes don't all come out at the same time. Since most people eat "family style", things tend to come out of the kitchen when they are done. Sometimes that means they all come out at the same time (appetizer, soup and entree). Maybe there is just a different set of expectations. When I go to eat Dim Sum, the waiter at Elite never tells me his name. There is no faux - familiarity like you find at many restaurants. What they might lack in "effectiveness" they make up with being genuine. At the Vietnamese places we go, the people know us and they are extremely friendly. Nobody pulls the chair out for me or whisks the crumbs away between courses. I don't think I've ever been offered an Amuse Bouche at Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa. But they know us and know that I like the pork grilled in banana leaves with my pork chop. That means more to me.

                                I don't think the service is bad at Jitlada. It can be a little slow. In fact, they have signs up asking for customers patience since they make the food fresh. I find Jazz very charming and the people there always remember us and say HI. We ate there all the time when my wife was pregnant and if I pick up something to go, they would ask how she was doing. I prefer their "homestyle" service to a place where the waiter tells me his name and more interested in his next audition than what I want for dinner.

                                -----
                                Jitlada
                                5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
                                1700 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803

                                1. re: bsquared2
                                  l
                                  losfelizhound Mar 30, 2010 11:40 PM

                                  "Effective" and "genuine" are different constructs. Remembering your preferences is a necessary (and perhaps even sufficient) condition for being "effective", but certainly it is not sufficient for being considered "genuine". My point is, effectiveness is easier to ascribe than genuineness. Lastly, the existence (or absence) of one, says very little about the other.

                                  I am glad to hear your experience about Jitla Da was different from mine. As you mentioned, in Thai and some Chinese restaurants, the order of serving food is not the same as one expects (e.g., soup > entree) and that's alright, as long as all ordered items are served before the diners call it a day.

                              2. re: ipsedixit
                                s
                                sibaik Mar 30, 2010 02:21 PM

                                So true, ipse--and hilarious!

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  s
                                  sushigirlie Dec 14, 2010 03:53 PM

                                  The service at Jitlada is below that at any restaurant I've been to in Thai Town or the SGV (or Thailand or China for that matter). It is unconscionably bad. Also, I could do without the menus that have food all over them. That said, the food is so good and so different from what's available elsewhere that I grin and bear it. Considering the abundance of empty tables and people ordering take out, I'll speculate that many others don't.

                                  -----
                                  Jitlada
                                  5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                  1. re: sushigirlie
                                    m
                                    mc michael Dec 15, 2010 09:15 AM

                                    They seem plenty busy on weekends.

                              3. 1newyorkguy Mar 29, 2010 05:28 PM

                                How would describe the fish balls? Fresh?

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: 1newyorkguy
                                  b
                                  bsquared2 Mar 29, 2010 08:52 PM

                                  That sounds like a set up for a joke.

                                  I assume they are as fresh as fish balls get. At most Thai restaurants, fish balls (and meat balls) tend to have a little 'spring' to them. I do know that the curry is very tasty and the fish balls are good. The egg inside is the hook.

                                  1. re: 1newyorkguy
                                    mollyomormon Mar 30, 2010 09:59 AM

                                    I didn't even know fish had balls.

                                    1. re: mollyomormon
                                      b
                                      bsquared2 Mar 30, 2010 09:00 PM

                                      See? I let YOU make that joke.

                                      1. re: mollyomormon
                                        n
                                        New Trial Mar 31, 2010 12:48 AM

                                        Well, there is the Lobster Quadrille but the younger fish tend to prefer school dances.

                                        1. re: New Trial
                                          LA Buckeye Fan Jun 20, 2010 01:07 PM

                                          that made me snort. thanks for the laugh.

                                    2. c
                                      conor610 Mar 26, 2010 02:45 PM

                                      An existential question: can one be said to have eaten at Jitlada if one has not gotten the kua kling, either with beef or lamb?

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: conor610
                                        m
                                        mc michael Mar 26, 2010 02:49 PM

                                        I think not.

                                        1. re: mc michael
                                          SauceSupreme Mar 26, 2010 04:15 PM

                                          I concur. Moreover, I also recommend people order their food maybe one level spicier than their normal tolerance level, all the while knowing that a Southern Thai person would have gotten it even spicier.

                                          1. re: mc michael
                                            b
                                            bsquared2 Mar 26, 2010 09:59 PM

                                            I've taken a lot of people to Jitlada. While they were somewhat receptive to the Southern Thai dishes, the kua kling is just too much. Delicious, but some people need to work up to it. Another dish I like is the curry with the fish balls w/ egg inside. Really tasty and fun to eat.

                                            -----
                                            Jitlada
                                            5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                            1. re: bsquared2
                                              s
                                              starre Mar 27, 2010 07:17 AM

                                              What color curry is this?

                                              1. re: starre
                                                SauceSupreme Mar 27, 2010 05:21 PM

                                                Green curry ("kaeng khiaw-wan")

                                                I actually think the khua kling and the green curry go great together, as the sweetness of the soupy curry helps take the edge off, while the heat of the dry curry helps bolster the soup. But yeah, that green curry is the bees knees.

                                                1. re: SauceSupreme
                                                  b
                                                  bsquared2 Mar 27, 2010 09:11 PM

                                                  I'll use that logic on my wife next time we go there. The dry curry is just too spicy for her. I can get by with the green curry.

                                              2. re: bsquared2
                                                b
                                                Bradbury Dec 14, 2010 08:46 PM

                                                Maybe I was just unlucky, but the green curry with fish balls was the only thing at Jitlada that I *didn't* love. The curry itself was OK, if unremarkable, but the fish balls were so impossibly rubbery (perhaps undercooked?) that it was like eating SuperBalls with salty yolks.

                                                But the rice salad, and the catfish, and the dry curries, and, er, whatever that shrimp dish served in the escargot dish is called .... mmmmmmmmm.

                                            2. re: conor610
                                              a_and_w Mar 31, 2010 12:11 PM

                                              That dry curry is the bomb -- literally and figuratively lol.

                                            3. s
                                              starre Mar 26, 2010 08:22 AM

                                              Thanks for the report. I'm going to be in LA in a week and Jitlada is on my to eat at list. The morning glory salad sounds so unique. Is the broth the mussels are cooked in something you can get sans mussels?

                                              -----
                                              Jitlada
                                              5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                              1. SauceSupreme Mar 25, 2010 02:32 PM

                                                I've never understood why the mussels get so much love. I mean, they're fine, but other dishes on the specials menu shine much brighter like the green curry with fishball and salted yolk and the turmeric fish.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: SauceSupreme
                                                  a
                                                  andytseng Mar 25, 2010 04:18 PM

                                                  I agree wholeheartedly about the mussels.

                                                  Also, if you're looking for soft shell crab, I would've gone w/ one of the curry dishes instead of the roll.

                                                  1. re: andytseng
                                                    b
                                                    bsquared2 Mar 25, 2010 08:58 PM

                                                    I like the curry simmered with tea leaves and snails. That's some good eatin'. And the rice salad.

                                                    1. re: bsquared2
                                                      SauceSupreme Mar 25, 2010 09:40 PM

                                                      Where is the rice salad on the menu? It's one of my favorites too but when I looked at the menu yesterday I swear it wasn't there.

                                                      1. re: SauceSupreme
                                                        b
                                                        bsquared2 Mar 25, 2010 10:05 PM

                                                        The Khao Yam? It's on the menu and it is one of the dishes that they are famous for. If you ask for it, they will make it for you. We get it every time we go there. I could eat it every day.

                                                    2. re: andytseng
                                                      b
                                                      burntwater Dec 14, 2010 05:59 PM

                                                      Another one not smitten by the mussels.

                                                      1. re: burntwater
                                                        s
                                                        sushigirlie Dec 14, 2010 06:21 PM

                                                        I like the mussels with green curry better than the garlicky mussels, which are quite good IMO. It's rare for a Thai restaurant to serve mussels of the high quality that Jitlada serves. Still, I agree that there are several more exciting dishes on the menu.

                                                        -----
                                                        Jitlada
                                                        5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                    3. re: SauceSupreme
                                                      ipsedixit Mar 26, 2010 08:53 AM

                                                      I think the better dish is actually the one with catfish steaks in a curry coconut milk broth. Good sh!t.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                        s
                                                        starre Mar 26, 2010 09:03 AM

                                                        what about the dishes with the tea leaves? I've never had anything like that. I'm crazy for curry coconut and catfish so that sounds hard to beat

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                                          s
                                                          sibaik Mar 30, 2010 02:18 PM

                                                          I like that catfish dish too. We've been ordering that for many years, always consistently good.

                                                      2. orythedog Mar 25, 2010 10:14 AM

                                                        Did you see anyone having the catfish which is supposed to be one of their specials?

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: orythedog
                                                          r
                                                          radman123 Mar 25, 2010 10:20 AM

                                                          The crispy catfish salad (and other catfish dishes) was on the menu, but waitress said try Morning Glory salad first -- crispy catfish is defenitely on my list for second time visit foods.

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