Victim of a serious, weekend-long Noodle Jones. The resulting scorecard.
HI THAI NOODLE
5229 Hollywood Blvd
A member of the Holy Thai Noodle Trinity, all located at Hollywood/Kingsley in Thai Town (the other two being SANAMLUANG and SAPP, which is King).
Brightly lit, cheerful red and white color-scheme: a Thai version of Farrell's. Sparsely populated @ 10PM on a Friday night (I'm the Lone Gringo). A Thai variety show blares from the big-screen TV. A place mat denoting the word "hello" in about a hundred different languages greets you at the table.
A steaming hot bowl of Beef Tendon Noodle Soup for your humble reporter (with choice of egg/rice noodle---I opt for egg). Served alongside is a small dish filled with a pulpy, seedy, ominous looking "salsa". In it goes.
Delicious. Soup has that same spicy tang and blood-induced murk as Sapp's Boat Noodles. Plentiful chunks of soft, soup-soaked tendon (think: large beef marshmallows) and pallid meatball. Good, chewy noodles, seriously incendiary broth (wisely, I refrain from any pepper-jalapeno-sambal "enhancement"). Friendly waitress is amused at my sweaty, flushed countenance. "Water, sir?". "Yes", I gasp. Great late-night comfort food: $7. Open all night.
Clamoring Chowhound praise has been deafening. Ms rabo and I can resist no longer.
Decor is Mad Max truck stop meets surf-Manga. A small TV silently displays a series of incredible race car crashes. Behind open counter, barely visible through leaping orange flames, tattoo-covered, super-muscular dude cooks up a storm.
The deal here is tonkotsu-style ramen (pork bones cooked overnight, rendering wonderful, milky broth). Not much else on the menu, and why bother?
Outside of Japan, had not found good tonkotsu ramen (OC's SANTOKA is high on a list of must-trys). No longer the case. Damn tasty all around, but the included hunks of pork belly deserve special mention---sizeable, fatty, with a deep, cavernous flavor that jostles for position with and refuses full submission to the killer broth. Tasty Pork Jujitsu.
Two bowls, plus gyoza (EXCELLENT!) and a small bowl of unagi-donburi = $23. By our departure (1PM Saturday), the line is out the door.
1. A study in contrasts. The wildly hot, free-wheeling bowl of Thai noodles, versus the rigorously disciplined, equally delicious ramen. A jones fully sated
2. What is it with noodle shops and TVs?