A Rockin’ Thai Spot in Hollywood – Straight Up

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Palmsthai.com I  5900 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028

Located at the Corner of Hollywood and Bronson, this place has a reputation for rockin’ authentic thai food.  Upon entrance, the vibe is set, with the smell of coconut milk and spices, cafeteria style seating, east asian karaoke style decor and best of all an Asian guy (no taller then 5′3″) in 5 inch heels and leather tights singing in tune with Bowie, Jagger, McCartney and the rest of the best.

Speaking of the best, these guys were rewarded LA’s best in the “Best of LA” food and wine tour.  That could either mean a lot, or very little.  I’ll assume the best.

I rarely order anything but water as far as fluid goes, but today something or another (probably the ambience) told me I should get a Thai Tea.  Last time I had one of these was when boba just hit the scene in the late 90’s.  Anyway, it was good.

I like to start any Thai Dinner with a warm veggie coconut soup, so that’s what we did.  It wasn’t any better or worse than most of the other’s I’ve had.  One thing I liked though was that it wasn’t to heavy in lemon grass.  Sometimes they overdue it, and it gets all bitter (you know what I’m sayin’).  My take on lemon grass is to treat it like a bay leaf and pull it out of the soup upon serving.  Whatever, it hit the sot.

The first dish that came out was a noodle dish with friend tofu.  Now this thing has some name that I usually remember, this time can’t, and don’t feel like looking up.  All in all this was done well, cooked just right and not too clumpy or soggy like some other places tend to serve it.  Pretty much perfect – okay so what’s next?

So here comes to friend rice.  Now while I am not a fan of friend rice (persae) I defintely do find myself judging the quality of a Thai place by their execution with fried rice.  These guys did a good job; meaning they balance the veggie/egg/rice ratio really well and maintaining rice independence.  By rice independence I mean the presence of individual grains versus the clumpy mush that forks and chopsticks like so much.  Yummy fried rice, no bring on the curry.

I was expecting some type of curry dish, but I got this thing called the Thai Omelette.  Good I guess, if you like battered scrambled eggs.  I like my eggs free of flour or corn starch so I wasn’t the first to break seal.  The sauce was the typical sweet asian honey sauce, which can make cardboard edible, so when paired with that I guess it was okay.  That’s all I have to say about this, now bring on the curry dammit.

I eat my Thai Curry dishes like soup (without any rice); just thought I might throw that in there.  So how did I like this red beef curry soup?  I liked it!  The liquid was just right – perfect amount of spice/veggie/steamy/sweetness.  The beef was a little bit chewy, but it always is, so I guess that’s how they like it.

I usually stick to vegetarian when I eat food from Asia, so dish full of vibrant green goodness can almost never let me down.  This is what they call water spinach.  If that means it comes from the sea or grows in lagoons – I don’t know.  But what I do know is that it was quite good and cooked crispy (which I love).  Alright, one more and I’m at capacity for sure.  Next?

Green Veggie Curry to me equals a close second place behind duck pineapple red curry from being the  best Thai dish I’ve ever had.  They did a great job with it, but only received a 7 out 10 for lack of creaminess in the sauce.

Okay, so overall this place is a totally rockin’ Thai spot in West Side.  The food was good, ambience even better and service totally robotic.  The employees were all of Asian decent and struggled with English, but they had trendy hair cuts, great personalities and best of all wore headset walkie-talkies that they communicated with (lay secret service).  To top it off, they have live music that went from a solo guitar swining Asian rockstar to an Elvis look alike singing behind a HUGE statue of the king himself (which I guess they are famous for).

Word up to Palms Restaurant in&on Hollywood – we’ll be back, for sure.

Photos and commentary provided by Nonee Kay of Kitchen12000

You Really Can’t Bash on Bashan

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Bashanrestaurant.com I  3459 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale, CA 91208

Once again I forgot to catch a photo of the inside of the spot, but this one I took off their website is pretty much dead on. It looks like they used a wide-angle lens for the shot, because in reality, the location is REALLY tight. Not bad tight though, just tight. This photos also shows the venue during the day, we went for dinner, and it was dark, quiet and very “day spa” feeling.

The ladies here are really nice and welcoming, but it took our waitress about 20 minutes to take our order. I’ve got a feeling there was a mix-up amongst staff. No worries though, we weren’t in a hurry – moving on.

Look I’ve never been one to get in line for free food at a corporate engagement, I actually feel kind of awkward doing so. But something about getting a little amuse (gift from chef) at a fine dining establishment that just makes me happy. It’s the chef’s way of saying “check it out, we appreciate you coming to our spot.” It also gives you an idea of what to expect from the kitchen. This was a butternut squash soup shot & a red onion compote. It was awesome. Simple, silky smooth and completely balanced. Thanks Chef B., you are appreciated.

We ourselves have gained tons of praise from our Pork Belly dishes, so I tend to order it anytime I see it on a menu. Honestly, these guys slapped our version around like an angry Russian women would her undisciplined younger son. Served with Daikon 2x, Pickled Ginger and Garlic Puree plus Charred Shishito Pepper this semi-sloppy plated appetizer was OFF THE HOOK. Period.

Now I hate to be all cliche, but Fois Gras really is something I order anytime I have the opportunity. It’s my favorite edible compound on the entire planet, and it’s really hard to mess up (if you ask me). With that said, these folks really know how to cook this butter like fragile protein. Crispy and caramelized on the outside and marshmallow mushy on the inside. Accompanied by Cherry Puree, Brioche Crouton, Baby Tatsoi & Pickled Cherries – this was worth all $19.

Classic Oysters on a half shell served with Apple Mignonette & Cocktail Consommé. I must say, like Fois Gras, I almost always enjoy oysters. In this case (maybe because I was still basquing in the glory of that fattened duck liver) I wasn’t really too happy after consumption. I really liked the presentation with the dropper sauces, but overall it wasn’t something special. Moving on…

Here we go, a duck dish on the menu, means a duck dish on my table. Typically, duck breasts are served sliced paper thin and on a bias – in this case, not so much. These duck strips were more Jack in the Box “chicken tender” sized. Served over Baby Korean Radish, Shitake, Japanese Chives, Mizuna, Satsuma, Walnuts & a Sweet Miso Gochujang Vinaigrette – I can’t say I was really impressed. The duck was chewy, radishes bitter & sauce unhealthy in portion. If I had to rate it, I’d say 4 out of 10. Sorry, B.

So this one was the Niman Ranch Pork Chop with Apple Puree, Crispy Pig Ear Salad, Crépinette with Wholegrain Mustard Sauce. The plating was much nicer than what shows in this “flash” fizzled photo. Chops cooked at medium (thank god) and accompaniments one better than the next. Very well done for a lean pork-meat dish, which really should never be good. Pork is good because of its fat; way to pull this one off Chef B. – the apple puree saved the day.

Okay, I have a confession, I’m not a big Cod fan, but I love Black Cod soup at Sushi Bars; a must order if you plan on bombing. In this case however, these folks roasted it and paired it with Peppadew Peppers, Pearl Onion, Artichoke, Baby Octopus & a Fennel Broth. Subtle in flavor, but a great combination of textures and amazing in overall balance. Surprisingly, most of the flavor in this dish came from the peppers, with everything else serving as texture. Truth be told, those Pickled Peppadews were so damn good, that everything else just followed in stride. Light, healthy, simple – well done.

At $31 this was the most pricey plate on the menu, which to me means, “order me.” A 21 Day Dry Aged New York Steak, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Asparagus, Crispy Bone Marrow, Onion Ring & Veal Jous this plate of goodness was simply awesome. The onion rings were very much classic diner style, which was kind of a trip – but hey I’m down. The sauce (again) could have been a little heavier in volume. The crispy bone marrow however, dwarfed everything else and announced “hello, I’m about to change your life.” And it did. Start a FB page for it, cuz I’m ready to be a fan.

How can you possibly say no to a peanut butter banana toffee cake with caramel ice cream? You can’t right? Good, glad to hear I’m not alone on that stance. It was bomb, what else could I say. Next?

Italian Panna Cotta served chocolate mouse style in a martini glass. Smooth, cool, creamy and fresh. This one was quite good too. Not the best I’ve had, but hey “we don’t have our own pastry chef.” Whatever, I didn’t come here for dessert. Well done fellows.

Truth be told, we were planning on heading to the Bazaar at the SLS by Jose Andreas, but they were totally booked. So instead of heading to the West Side and dealing with all of the wanna-be super stars, we decided to stay close to home and try something new. Thanks to Yelp.com we found this wonderful little gem. Who says Glendale doesn’t have decent cuisine? Bashan is way past decent – and totally chill. Will go back FOR SURE!

Photos and Review Gracously Provided by Michael Kay of Kitchen12000