Today's curried and spiced Groupon gets you the hot, sour, sweet, and salty cooking of Southeast Asia. Get $40 worth of gourmet Thai food for $20 at Rambutan, the Silver Lake restaurant that LA Weekly calls "hip enough for designers and artists, romantic enough for dates, and authentic and passionate enough in its cooking for ethnic-food lovers."
The restaurant, located just off the 101 on Sunset Boulevard, has a huge Thai menu along with 19 types of small plates. For finger-food, a Citysearch editor recommends the green curry dumplings ($8) and the beef waterfall (charbroiled top sirloin with red shallots, ground roasted chili, coriander, green onions, and fiercely crushed roasted jasmine; $9). Rambutan's fast and friendly staff serves curries, fried rice, noodles, soups, and wok wonders bursting with fresh herbs and spices in a comfortable dining room with mirrors, dark wood tables, and dark mirrors looking into mysterious woods. Curries such as the red duck curry (homemade roasted duck complements a spicy red curry with pineapple, tomatoes, and Thai basil, $11.50) and slow-cooked Siam pork chops (thick-cut pork chop, marinated in soya bean sauce and black-pepper corn; $13) complement specialty cocktails such as the ginger cosmopolitan (soju, triple sec, cranberry juice, lime, and fresh ginger, $7). Reservations are recommended.
- The kitchen doesn't shrink from the fact that Thai food is supposed to be spicy, like many Thai-American restaurants do, though the tapas trend that seems to be moving around the globe is warmly embraced. Enticing small-plate offerings here include green curry dumplings plump with shrimp, scallops or ground pork, and skewers of tender meats marinated in curried coconut milk. – Lesley Balla, LA.com
- Many Thai restaurants cater to timid American palates, playing down the chile heat, eschewing the fish sauce, and sweetening dishes. But the Rambutan kitchen refreshingly and correctly assumes that its hip Silver Lake clientele has the sophistication and ability to appreciate the full Thai flavors. – Michelle Huneven, LA Weekly
- ...I consistently get the best Thai food here. Their noodles are always perfectly cooked. The curries are delicious... If I crave Thai, I have to go out of my way to get it from rambutan or I am not satisfied. – monaquita, Citysearch
- Delicious, good service, excellent menu choices – donovanfamily2006, Citysearch
- The decor is understated and attractive, the food was fresh, Thai spicy (not tourist spicy), and delivered quickly. Their drinks were also great – m0toko, Citysearch
Many reviewers praise Rambutan for not shying away from the traditional spiciness of Thai food. As Americans, we’re sheltered from the true heat of many supposedly hot things:
The Sun: While the Sun beats down mercilessly in other parts of the world, Americans put a colder sun, called the Moon, in the sky for up to half the day.
Chile Peppers: What Americans know as spicy chile peppers are actually grapes. Real Chile Peppers are so hot that they rightly deserve their nickname: The Seasons 1–3 of Baywatch of Vegetables.
Buster Poindexter: In non-America parts of the world, the actual lyrics of his hit song, “Hot, Hot, Hot,” cause homes to catch fire.
Sulfuric Acid: Not safe to drink for most Americans, with the exception of every president since William Howard Taft.
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Rambutan's elegant eatery welcomes diners to colorful feasts of coconut-milk curry, small plates of skewered barbecue, spicy papaya salad, and fragrant lemongrass noodle soups. Like a chauffeur wearing skinny jeans, the décor is cosmopolitan hip with a refined elegance, surrounding diners at close-knit tables with soft lighting. As guests sit on luxurious, padded seating, they tweeze lacquered chopsticks around morsels of water-chestnut-stuffed steamed dumplings, or they plunge spoons into aromatic galanga seafood soup or oyster mushroom tom yum. Weekends often find revelers sipping craft cocktails in the adjacent lounge area while DJs churn out danceable beats.