Sunday, May 15, 2011

Isaan in Hollywood: Krua Siri

There is much buzz in the food world about the influence of amateur bloggers, Yelpers and Chowhounds on restaurants, but despite the hype, old media still has a mass market that eclipses us. A restaurant will still explode with business after a great review in the LA Times or a Gold write up in the Weekly that is far beyond the impact of any single on-line review. Many of us cringe when a good restaurant gets the write-up, lest it becomes packed and infiltrated with culinary philistines (I recall the night of a Times review of a Salvadoran restaurant, a Salvadoran friend of ours who went was asked by a review-chasing patron whether he spoke "El Salvadoran").

But those massive crowds only last a few weeks, and the publicity and attention can have many good sides as well (aside from the obvious benefit to the restaurant). A couple of months ago, the excellent Thi Nguyen reviewed a new discovery: Krua Siri in Thai Town. The review told the all too familiar story of a restaurant with a bland, Chinese-Thai menu, but a host of off menu (or Thai menu only) specialties from the northern, Isaan region of Thailand.

Fast forward two months, and the back page of Krua Siri's menu is dedicated to a list of recommended dishes, which lists everything mentioned in Nguyen's article (which is also printed on the cover of the menu, for good measure).

While the menu has changed, the food is as good as it was when Nguyen reviewed it. Thai sausages are just a tad acidic and do well rolled in lettuce the large ginger slices and peanuts that are served with them. All of the salads we had were very good. Papaya salad was a nicely balanced version of the familiar classic, every bite of duck larb had a crunch of herb, spice, meat, skin and what I think were small bones as well, and the squid salad was spicy and acidic with tender strips of squid. My favorite dish of the meal was probably the sour curry, a sweet, sour and spicy soup with shrimp and what I can best describe as little square omelets of eggs and greens. The complexity of the broth is what did it for me; it was one of those things you just want to keep eating to make the flavor last.

Krua Siri delivers within a three mile radius, you can order on-line on their website.

Krua Siri
5103 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 660-6196


Anonymous said...

The sour soup/curry should've been listed as kaeng som? w/ kai jeow cha-om (cha-om omelette). The cha-om omelette could also be served separate, with the omelette placed on top of rice on plate, then kaeng som poured over both. I don't know WTF the difference is, but was told: "that's how you do it". OKAY then.

And bastard. I've been meaning to hit this (along with Captain Thai -- also Issan) for 2 months now... to no avail.

"Review Chaser". I'm going to quote that shortly. Reminds me of chubby chasers. ZING.

sku said...

Yeah, that's the soup. They spelled in "Kang Som." The broth was great, but I didn't care as much for the omelettes, which got pretty soggy in the soup (they were served in the soup, not separately, probably would have been better the way you described).