Stylish and spacious, boraan offers a posh setting in which to enjoy its artfully prepared Thai dishes. The menu features the traditionally succulent suspects, flanked by a redolent lineup of fried rice, stir-fry, and red, green, and yellow curries. Meanwhile, the signature seafood rad nah adorns its noodles with flavorful shrimp, mussels, scallops, calamari, crab, and chinese broccoli in a garlic-bean gravy sauce ($17.99). A BYOB policy and no corkage fee, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options, ensure that boraan not only meets all culinary expectations but also extends them a handshake and a collectible business card.
Employing exotic spices, fresh vegetables, and sweet sauces, the culinary experts at Singapore Express craft a full menu of authentic Thai cuisine including full-flavored curry and noodle entrees. Groups of two or four jumpstart palates with one or two appetizers, choosing between lighter selections such as steamed chicken dumplings and heavier subjects including deep-fried tofu and the meaning of life. Main courses vary in consistency from the broth-based chicken-coconut soup—a blend of swimming Thai herbs clinging to straw-mushroom buoys in a sea of coconut broth—to duck red curry served with steamed white rice. Table denizens can also rev up a stolid maw by imbibing signature dishes such as the Indonesian nasi lemak—a bed of rice cooked in coconut milk and crowned with chicken wings, fried fish, and a fried egg—or a spicy mint pork leg, which can be used to hold up a wobbly table.
Outside of Arunee House, two giant signs and a dark-green awning bear the eatery’s MO: to serve up a mix of more than 100 Thai and Chinese dishes. The kitchen staff tosses chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp into six different types of thai curry and mixes chantaboon noodles with chili powder and sprouts to create generous portions of pad thai. Servings of spicy squid prelude the house-special vegetable plate, a cornucopia of snow peas, chinese cabbage, bamboo shoots, black mushrooms, and freshly weaned baby corn. Eaters can augment their meals with glasses of thai iced tea or finish things off with a dessert of sweet sticky rice with mango.
For the casual observer passing Tuk Tuk, it might seem as though there has been an accident. The front of a tuk tuk—the Thai term for rickshaw—juts from the front of the building above the awning, as though its wheel has just burst through the wall. But if that observer ventured inside, they would find neither debris nor an apologetic teleporter proclaiming that his calculations were off. Instead they would see diners seated beneath colorful wall art and hanging lamps whose shades resemble curving Möbius strips, or, according to one review from Gayot, snail shells. Then, once the adrenaline faded and reality set in, the investigating observer would be smacked by what was so obvious to everyone else: the aroma of mingling spices.
A compendium of noodle dishes, wok stir-fries, curries, and house specialties, the menu prioritizes the power of complementary ingredients. According to the same Gayot review, chef Aoi Rattanamanee has a particular knack for seasoning grilled dishes: "Chicken is marinated overnight in garlic, cilantro and black pepper, fostering deep flavor." The spicy basil fried rice mixes chili and thai basil within a vegetable medley, and the Crying Tiger beef derives its zest from garlic, galangal root, and soybean sauce. Those in search of proven staples can indulge in pad thai or one of three curry variants, whose ingredients have all simmered in a creamy coconut milk.
Today, the Los Angeles foodscape is saturated with the culinary styles of countries from the other side of the Pacific. But nearly 40 years ago, that was hardly the case. In 1976, Supa Kuntee and her family opened Chao Krung Restaurant, one of L.A.'s very first Thai restaurants (the second ever, as far as they know). Early on, they attracted hordes of curious diners who had never sampled the Kuntees' native foods. Years later, the family still follows those traditional recipes when crafting their wide selection of noodle, rice, curry, grill-based, and wok-prepared entrees. The pad thai is quite popular, as is papaya salad and tom yum, a soup that can be made with spicy lemongrass chicken or tofu and mushrooms.
As they did with the menu, the Kuntees looked to authentic Thai traditions when designing Chao Krung Restaurant. They pride themselves on recreating the elaborate decor found in many Bangkok restaurants, hinted at by the intricately carved welcome sign that greets guests in two languages. From tables set with linen napkins folded into lotus flowers, people can admire the ornate mural of the Chao Praya riverbank, or gaze through one the painted window boxes set into teak-wood walls. An illuminated sala roof, meanwhile, covers one end of the bar, protecting patrons from the intrusive gaze of any secret agent spies hiding in the rafters.
Nariya Thai’s menu not only packs in the flavor of traditional Thai cuisine; many entrees are also seasoned with healthy ingredients such as garlic, ginger, and kaffir lime to aid in digestion, weight loss, and warding off vampires. The menu includes red, yellow, and green curries and honors the grill with barbecue chicken and pork options. Chefs whip up aromatic dishes of pra ram by combining beef, chicken, or pork with steamed vegetables and peanut sauce. A happy-hour menu allows friends and coworkers to gather for discounted cocktails and beers and small bites of golden tofu, Thai-style buffalo wings, and spring rolls offered from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Nariya Thai offers patio seating and hookah, and are open to 2 a.m. with live music after 10 p.m on Tuesday through Sunday.