Just got home from my second meal in three days at Sri Siam Thai restaurant in North Hollywood -- thanks to the Chowhounder who mentioned it a while back!
This restaurant is definitely worth a trip for non Valley-ites, as it serves some country-style Northern Thai dishes that I haven't been able to find anywhere (except at Lotus of Siam in Vegas) since Alisa closed down. Sri Siam is in a mini-mall on the northeast corner of Van Owen and Coldwater, right in the North Hollywood neighborhood that seems to be becoming Thai Town II. From the outside it looks like any other mediocre Thai-Chinese, with ads for chow mein and teriyaki lunch specials. But don't be dismayed by the appearance -- the food is great!
Saturday night I got takeout. I ordered the crispy rice salad and asked if they had nam prik oom (sp?), the ultra-hot spicy vegetable dip. They did, though it's not listed on the menu. I rounded it out with a Panang curry. The crispy rice salad was wonderful, with chewy bits of sausage, crunchy rice and lots of herbs. The nam prik oom had an assaultive kick, and the panang curry provided a nice balance to the two spicy dishes.
By tonight the leftovers were gone, so we went back. Another order of crispy rice salad -- mmm, even better this time. We also ordered the spicy charbroiled beef salad, which has lemon grass, apple, chili, cilantro and mint in it. Very tasty -- a wonderful blend of sweet, sour and spicy. The owner recommended we try fish cakes as an appetizer. I'd never had them before, and they were quite good -- crisp fried brown pancakes of fish and spices served with a sweet cucumber salad. After all this we were stuffed, but couldn't resist ordering sticky rice and mango to take home for dessert.
The menu lists quite a few interesting chef's specials, but it's definitely the kind of place where you want to talk to the staff and find out what's not listed. The nam prik oom, the fish cakes and the sticky rice with mango were not on the menu, and the owner (a lovely and helpful woman) named a couple of other dishes that weren't listed. Take your time, talk to the staff and follow their suggestions -- you'll be glad you did!