[For photos, with captions, in-line with text: http://theoffalo.com/2013/07/nightmar...]
That biannual excuse to go hog wild (as if some of us needed an excuse) known as dineLA has concluded once again. Unlike last summer, when I partook of the dineLA deal at a half dozen restaurants, this summer I only dined at one: Night+Market. (Apparently the plus sign is silent--it is not "Night and Market", despite what my brain wants to say when I see the "+". Every. Single. Time.) I've been wanting to try this place for a while, and since chrishei's already been many times, I decided to be his sidekick for a change.
The dineLA deal consisted of a three-course dinner for $35. Diners had a choice between two dishes for each course. Since two diners could order the entire dineLA menu, that's what chrishei and I decided to do, plus a few additions. Descriptions below are directly from the menu.
1a. peek gai hey-ha: "party wings." kind of sweet, kind of spicy. totally delicious
1b. nam kao tod: crispy rice salad w/spicy sour pork, onion, cilantro, fish sauce, lime, ginger, and bird eye chile
2a. gaeng pa hoi: manila clams, jungle curry, holy basil
2b. koi tuna: isan tuna ceviche served w/ shrimp chips. stinky, spicy and not for the faint of heart
3a. khao soi haw: mae sai curried beef noodles of the jin haw peoples of northern chiang rai
3b. pla kamin: whole idiot fish, deep fried. turmeric, lemongrass, garlic
fried pig tail ($6.00)
pork toro: grilled fatty hog collar. with "jaew" northeastern chile dip ($7.00)
ice cream sandwich ($4.50)
The highlights from the dineLA menu, for me, were the nam kao tod and koi tuna. Everything was delicious, but those two were the standouts.
I've had nam kao tod at Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas and at Renu Nakorn in Norwalk, but Night+Market's is better than either, in my opinion. LoS's sour pork had a little more bite, but what pushed this one to the top of my list is the simple addition of fresh ginger.
I've not had koi tuna before, but with a description like "stinky, spicy and not for the faint of heart", I knew I'd enjoy it before I even got it. The pungent fishiness from the seasoning contrasted well with the fresh and bright tuna. The shrimp chips were the perfect vessel to consume the ceviche, which is more of a tartare (not as wet).
The highlights from the regular menu were the pork toro and ice cream sandwich. Again, that is not to say the fried pig tail (tossed in lime juice, chiles, garlic, cilantro) was not delicious, because it absolutely was, but the pig tails from my meal at Tar & Roses (review forthcoming, I promise) were just a little better in my opinion.
The pork "toro", also known pork neck, jowl, or cheek (hangjungsal at Korean BBQ restaurants), is one of my favorite cuts of pork. The kor moo yang here was crispy, fatty, and delicious.
The ice cream sandwich was a revelation. Thai iced tea ice cream and coconut sticky rice, stuffed into a grilled sweet roll and drizzled with sweetened condensed milk, this dessert just cut through all the heat from the preceding dishes and was a perfect ending.
I have a feeling Night+Market may become my new food obsession...
Note: If you're disappointed that you missed Night+Market's dineLA menu, you've been granted a second chance. The restaurant announced on Thursday that they've extended the deal until the end of the weekend, so you still have tonight or tomorrow night (July 27th and 28th) to go! Run, don't walk!
9043 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(Sorry for the fuzziness on some of the photos--my iPhone will sometimes auto-focus on the "wrong" things, like the "jaew" dip in the pork toro pic.)