Place: Reun Pair Thai Restaurant - Hollywood Blvd./Western
Wednesday, 8/10/05 - 7:00 PM
Myself + 1 guest (Paul, a darling male friend and a local to the area)
Ambiance - C+
Service - B
Food (Taste) - A-
Food (Presentation) - B-
Wine/Drinks - N/A
Price - A
Overall Experience - B+
Reun is in a trademark Cali strip mall, and it's lack of ambiance is most definitely part of the charm. A scattering of basic brown tables in a small space - but what I noticed the moment I walked in was the *smells* - spicy, fragrant, fruity bliss.
Bonus points for the tacky green christmas lights that lit up the room when the sun went down - nice touch indeed :)
Reun doesn't serve alcohol, so we stuck to water and soda (see the bottom of the review for drinks later on). The service here in the opening minutes is stellar - our order was taken in record-time, and the food flew out shortly after. Sure, we had to basically body-tackle the servers to get our check/change, but no matter - I'm far more patient at that stage then when I'm ravenous and parched.
Now, the main event - the food: I listened to the 'Hounds advice and got the two most-mentioned dishes, along with two other mouth-watering options -
Papaya Salad (spicy, with raw crab) - ohmagod; sweet papaya meets cabbage meets heavenly spice meets sea-tasting freshness - loved this! Never had anything like it before and I would order this again and again.
Fried Morning Glory - proof positive that simple can be freaking fantastic. Garlicky, with a beautful soft/crunchy texture - I could devour a vat of this stuff.
Pad Kee Mao (with shrimp) - a warm and cozy comfort dish; the flat noodles had a delightul melt-in-mouth texture, and the spice was nice too.
Panang Curry (with pork) - we both declared that we were so happy we got piggie with this - I can't see chicken or beef holding the flavor as well. The sauce was AWESOME - a nice complex melding of flavors, and so damn good with the pork pieces.
In the end, I felt ridiculously fulfilled - I was a naive mountain girl 11 years ago and I moved to LA to experience multi-culturalism and world-spanning cuisines. Ducking into a seedy Hollywood Blvd. strip mall and chowing on authentic Thai food - yup, that's what I'm after. Tis what separates the 'Hounds from the Foodies.
To top off the evening, we walked a block and a half east to The Stone - my new favorite alcoholic haunt. It's gorgeous inside, decorated Thai-style, with beautiful boys behind the bar and the coziest vibe. We had Lychee Martinis, and they made us a special house concoction called a Cheesecake Martini - I said hot damn.
And thus ended my Thai Town culinary adventure. Certainly not the last of 'em.
Gracias, 'Hounds, for another round of splendid, spot-on advice!