Luv2Eat Thai Bistro (Los Angeles, Winter 2015-16)

Luv2Eat Thai Bistro
As I’ve noted on multiple occasions, Los Angeles almost certainly has the best Thai food in the United States. Las Vegas may have Lotus of Siam and Portland may have Pok Pok, but Los Angeles has Thai Town with its seemingly endless series of holes in the wall on Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards. Yes, LA has seen a couple of trendier places open in the last year or so in Night+Market (and it’s spinoff, Song) and more recently two outposts of Andy Ricker’s burgeoning Pok Pok empire (which have failed to set the town on fire so far), but it’s to old Thai Town you must go to experience the breadth of what LA has to offer. From Jitlada‘s legendary and expansive southern Thai menu to more abbreviated regional proffers at Pailin or Lacha Somtum, from boat noodles at Sapp to Muslim dishes at Kruang Tedd, Thai Town has enough to keep both the specialist and the generalist happy. 

Into this thriving scene in late 2014 came a restaurant with probably the silliest name in all of LA, Luv2Eat Thai Bistro (though Yummy Yummy Tasty Thai of Aurora and then Louisville, CO has them beat). Luckily, the food is great and it is true that you will love to eat it. The chefs decamped from Hoy-Ka to open their own place (which was renovated in November of 2015) and, like their previous stop, Luv2Eat is located outside Thai Town proper—in their case, well outside it, in the tourist-heavy swamps of Sunset and Highland. It’s an odd location, and must be driven by an inability to find a space inside Thai Town. I say this because their food is uncompromising and cannot possibly be aimed at the passing foot-traffic that a location like this would normally be out to capture. Indeed, right by the door, pasted onto a refrigerator, is a warning about the heat level of the food and the risk of wastage if you’re unable to handle it.

And no, they’re not kidding about the heat. Not everything is hot, and of course you can ask for things to be made mild and medium as well, but some of the southern Thai dishes that are their specialty are apparently lethal (I say “apparently” only because we only had one of them) and approaching Jitlada levels of danger. And there isn’t a consistent heat scale for everything on the menu: we asked for everything that was meant to be hot to be hot but our waitress independently downgraded one of those to medium and it was far hotter than everything else and very close to the boundary of what I could handle without lots of chilled lager to help (alas, they don’t have a liquor license). It was a very good meal on the whole with a number of things that were just excellent.

On to what we ate!

  1. Hat Yai Fried Chicken
  2. Pork Liver Salad
  3. Turmeric Chicken Soup
  4. Massamun Curry with Chicken
  5. Phuket Style Fish Curry Kanomjean

Please click on an image below to launch a slideshow with more details in the captions.

Not one thing was less than very good (well, the chicken was okay) and the fish curry, the turmeric soup and the massamun curry were excellent. All of this plus tax and tip came to about $63 and we took leftovers home. It was enough food for five adults, really. Apart from the crab/fish curry confusion, service was fine: attentive and helpful if you ask questions. Not that anyone in LA needs a Minnesota-based blogger to tell them what they already know, but if you haven’t gone yet you really should go. Word is their menu is going to expand to include more northern Thai dishes. Even if that hasn’t happened by the time we’re back in the summer we’ll be back for sure: we’ve not made much of a dent yet in what they already offer (here is the current menu: page 1 and page 2).

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