August 31, 2004

Talking Thai

Jenn and I love Thai food. Over the course of our time together we have eaten hundreds of Thai meals together. In LA there is a huge Thai community and a decent sized Thai town. Jenn and I have been fairly systematic in our exploration.

Our favorites:

East Wind Café 2
7363 W. Sunset Blvd.

This little hole in the wall near the Rock & Roll Ralphs, is run by a grandmother. Every time we go the décor gets more and more elaborate (christmas lights, fake plants, holographic waterfall posters, etc). All the food is top notch (spicy enough to make you sweat), but the Tum Yum Gai is out of this world. The parking lot can be dangerous, leave your car right in front if you can.

The Palms (also known as Thai Elvis)
5273 Hollywood Blvd.

Thai food and a Thai Elvis impersonator... come on, this is genius. Kavee Thongprecha performs virtually every night to a packed room. The food is also darned good. I always go for the boar. Jenn tends toward shrimp or whole fish. Note their version of medium spicy is extra spicy anywhere else. Also you can walk next door to the Thai grocery store if you need supplies.

Mae Ploy
2606 W. Sunset Blvd.

It's all the way out on the ass end of Sunset Blvd, but try their soups. You won't be disappointed. Note: Mae Ploy seems to have 2 or three cooks. The one who works at night is leagues better than the others.

4156 Santa Monica Blvd

Sompum does not serve your standard LA Thai fare. The spring rolls are larger (giant actually), the fish is fresher, and the yum neur deeply delicious. In fact when I think of yum neur, I think of Sompum.

In New York I do not have the Talmudic knowledge of Thai joints that I have in LA, but then again there are fewer places to choose from, they are more scattered, and they tend to expensive relatively speaking (It's not unusual for 2 people to order several plates in LA for less than $20. In NY the prices are double or triple.). But I do have some old favs:

127 W 56th St

Expensive as far as Thai places go, but I always return for the spring rolls (tiny and delicious) and the Thai steak (bbqed with a complex and yummy spicy sauce).

Pat Pong
93 E 7th St

If you can get past the unfortunate name, you'll enjoy the adventurous menu. Some of the items were influenced by the East Village's Eastern European roots (there is a kiebasa dish for example). This might sound awful, it's delicious. Trust me.

Sea Thai
75 2nd Ave.

Sea Thai is best experienced in the late afternoon when it's not too busy. Then, the food is across the board tasty. The portions tend to be small and somewhat preciously presented (I could care less about presentation, just let me eat!). At night Sea Thai becomes a bit of a scene, the waits are long, and the food suffers.

So far all the Brooklyn Thai places we've tried (Lemon Grass and the one next to it on Court street) have been mediocre. We're always looking for recommendations.

posted at 09:33 AM by raul

Filed under: eating


08/31/04 10:47 AM

My two favorites are:
Joya on Court Street in Brooklyn.
It is more of a contemporary take on thai food but very inexpensive and nice interior design.

Sripraphi in Woodside Queens
Very traditional style, hole in the wall.
They have many unusual items on the menu.
Try to go this summer and sit in the backyard garden.

08/31/04 03:14 PM

My mouth is watering. As soon as my car gets here, I'm there.

I passed Joya the other day and noted it... I'll definitely give it a spin. I'm also excited about all the Middle Eastern places in the neighborhood. Lots of new things to try. Again recommendations are always welcome.

02/08/06 10:17 PM

Mmm. I'm ordering take-out from Mae Ploy tonight. I came across your blog as I was doing a search for their phone number. The Thai food in LA is quite fantastic. There are so many great options. LA's got NY beat on Thai food, but, sadly, can't hold a candle to NY with Indian food. (Maybe I need to trek down to Artesia.)

It sounds like you live near my old neighborhood (Carroll Gardens). The Thai places on Smith (Tuk Tuk and Three Bow Thais) are decent. Three Bow Thais is cheap and consistent. Tuk Tuk has a decent atmosphere. The best place on Smith, though, has to be Zaytoons. Long live Zaytoons!

It's often overlooked, but I like Village 247 on Smith for brunch. It's less of a scene than the other places (Banania, Cafe Luluc, etc.). Brawta on Atlantic is also good. For some inexplicable reason, however, they don't have coffee, which is a bummer.

You should try the Grocery on Smith sometime if you haven't yet; it's quite delicious American fare (a bit pricey).

Why are there so many bad Japanese restaurants in that neighborhood? Why isn't there a great Chinese restaurant?

Anyway, you live in one of the greatest places anywhere. I hope you are enjoying it.


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