At my Thai cooking class, the instructor recommended a new Thai restaurant called Ban Phai on Sunset at Bronson. I didn't have time to ask him about recommended dishes so we just winged it. There is a small bar at the front and a stage where on Saturday night, three singers performed American and Thai pop songs, fortunately it was not too ear-splitting. The specials board was all in Thai but the waitress spoke excellent English and translated the entire board -- we chose the special pad thai and the eggplant salad from the specials board, and the catfish with basil from the regular menu. The specials board also featured "little birds" and frog legs.
Each dish was flavorful and somewhat different from the renditions I've had elsewhere. The pad thai seemed to have all the same ingredients but had a powerful chile kick to it. It could have used a few squirts of lime but was very tasty nonetheless. The eggplant salad came with ground chicken and a few shrimp on top of what must have been smoked eggplant -- there was an intense smoky flavor to the dish that elevated it far above Mae Ploy's eggplant salad, which is still pretty good. The catfish came sliced in steaks covered in chili sauce with basil -- also with a slight smoky kick to it as if they had used chipotle chiles or something. The rest of the menu looks fairly standard but they obviously have a good sauce person in the kitchen. Each dish, in fact, had a not unpleasant smoky quality to it. Three dishes, rice and one beer were $26. Beer, wine and sake. Service was on the slow side but there were two large banquets being served, and only one other table of non-Thai folks.
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