Thanks to the Chowhounds for recommending both these places. We lucked out at Musha and got a small private room with no reservations at 7 on Saturday night. We ordered perhaps a bit too hastily (the menu is long, the type is small, read carefully before you select) and ended up with four lovely but small dishes. We had the green bean salad, the tofu salad, the tuna poke and the eggplant stuffed with crab. Everything was delicate and tasty, especially the peanut dressing on the green bean salad. If you go with a group, order some rice and noodle dishes to round out the selection. Service was very pleasant. This is a really cute place and perfect for people looking for light, healthy food. Total was $40 for two beers, tea and four small plates. Are they open for lunch?
Musha is on Wilshire near 5th in Santa Monica.
We also tried Prael this weekend as someone posted that they had crispy rice salad like Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas. It didn't bear much resemblance to Lotus, but it was a fun dish to try. It seemed like perhaps it needed a spicy sour dressing like a larb dressing to tie it together. The red curry was good, but the spicy mint noodles were a bit greasy. Try this place if you're into the really authentic type of Thai restaurants -- cash only, no alcohol, lots of dishes with fish balls, that sort of thing.
Prael is on Melrose just west of Normandie.
Anyone know anywhere else in L.A. or the valley that has cripy rice salad, possibly a better version?