Renu Nakorn was once universally hailed by both food critics and Chowhounds. When its chef, Saipin Chutima, left to found Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas, the restaurant went downhill, explains elmomonster. “Added to that, the complex it stood in fell into disrepair. Eventually, the whole grimy set of buildings was razed and just like that, Renu was gone.”

But earlier this summer, Renu Nakorn rose from the ashes—rebuilt, reopened, and returned to food excellence. The pork larb is fantastic, sharp enough to cut paper, says elmomonster. “In this dish, ground meat has never met a better ally than lime juice, chili flakes, cilantro and red onion.” Tom kha gai is perfect: rich, with “the twangy, lime-perk of citrus; the gingery-bite of galangal; the faint perfume of kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass; and of course, the sinus-clearing, sweat-gland-triggering presence of chili.”

Best of all is the crispy mussel omelet, a pan-fried disk of crispy glutinous rice flour, egg, and mussels. This version trumps Lotus of Siam’s by a mile, says elmomonster. “All at once, it was sticky, gooey, crackly, crunchy, oily, chewy—textures that still haunt my dreams and put Renu Nakorn back on the map as one of the best Thai restaurants in America…or at least in Southern California.”

Dessert is coconut ice cream and fried plantains. The latter are “not sweetly cloying, or covered in batter, or wrapped inside an egg roll wrapper. It was done with nothing but a light shimmer of coating and a loving fry till crisp,” says elmomonster. “I ate one and looked up heavenward. Delicious!”

Renu Nakorn [710 Corridor]
13019 E. Rosecrans Avenue, Norwalk

Board Link: Much Beloved Thai “Renu Nakorn” Returns to Norwalk–Review with PHOTOS

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