Sapp Coffee Shop - Thai Town, LA - Report
I ate at this place last week after reading about it on Chowhound and watching the Bourdain video.
Overall, we really liked this place. Good prices, very good (and spicy) food, and friendly service. We had a late-ish lunch on a weekday, so it wasn't super crowded.
Crab omelet noodles were similar to pad thai, in that it's made with rice noodles and the sauce is rather sweet. We ordered ours 'medium', and it came out really quite spicy—in a good way. The omelet had lots of pieces of real crab, and while I liked this dish, I wish it had been slightly less sweet. Adding some lime did help.
Boat noodles (with beef) were excellent. We ordered beef-only, so no liver or other offal. The broth was maybe slightly too salty, but this is pretty nit-picky since overall this was excellent. You can choose your type of noodle, and we got wide rice noodles. I actually don't think these are necessarily better than other versions I've had lately (Banana Bay in Rowland Heights and Zen Yai in San Francisco), but they are definitely as good. There was a strong celery flavor from the bits of Chinese celery.
Pork belly w/ chinese broccoli and fried egg over rice was good, but was my least favorite of the three dishes. Back in 2012, I had a version of this dish across the street at Sanamluang which I remember being better. Still, this was spicy and the pork was crispy and it was filling. I was happy to have some rice, which was really the only non-spicy thing on the table.
For dessert, we ordered the banana in sticky rice. These were wrapped up and being sold by the cash register, but when we ordered, they heated it up for us and brought it to the table. It wasn't overly sweet, and it wasn't super special, but I thought it made a nice end to the meal.
I'd definitely return, most likely for the boat noodles, though I'd definitely want to know how they compare to other places in the neighborhood.