Our meal in January at Luv2Eat, the Thai restaurant in Hollywood that is currently the favourite of a large subset of the Angeleno foodie set, was so good that it (like Szechuan Impression and Mori) was one of the places we wanted to come back to for sure on this recent trip as well. We wanted to try more of their menu and see how deep their list of hits runs. Well, the meal certainly did not disappoint—everything was very good indeed—but we didn’t find it quite as excellent as our first meal six months ago. Part of this is probably due to the fact that our expectations were very high after that meal and it wasn’t possible for us to be surprised a second time; part of it has to do with the fact that a couple of our dishes were served somewhat toned down. At any rate, I’d still recommend Luv2Eat to anyone looking for excellent Thai food in Los Angeles, but perhaps not quite as breathlessly as I did in January.
For more detail on the restaurant, its location, and for pictures of the exterior and interior, please see my previous review. I am going to focus here on what we ate. It was the two of us with our boys in tow and, as at the last meal, we ordered five items. One of these was a dish we wanted to eat again for sure (the Phuket Style Fish Curry Kanomjean); the other four were recommendations from members of Food Talk Central who eat there often.
- Moo Ping: Grilled skewers of pork served with a sweet-tangy-spicy dipping sauce. These were primarily for the boys, in place of the regulation chicken satay we usually get for them at Thai restaurants, and they inhaled them. The bites I got were very good indeed, and the dipping sauce was great.
- Sparerib Zeed Noodle Soup: We were asked if we wanted this spicy and said yes. What we got was pretty mild. What we got was also not what we’d ordered. What we got was the regular Zeed Noodle Soup with Pork which comes with barbecued pork, meatballs and ground pork. It was good though and better kicked up a little with the crushed peppers at the table.
- Regular Shrimp Paste Fried Rice: There’s also a spicy version that’s served with a whole deep-fried mackerel but as we were hoping the boys would eat it we went for the milder version. It was quite good as well with the large number of condiments (including very nice, sticky-sweet-fatty porky bits) mixed in. As it happened, the smell of the fermented shrimp paste was not to the boys’ liking and they begged off after a few bites each. In hindsight we should have gotten the spicy rice for ourselves and they would have eaten the hell out of the deep-fried mackerel.
- Jade Noodle with 3 BBQ: Some folks on Food Talk Central seem to like this version better than that at Sapp (the previous champion in the category) but I can’t say I agree. Perhaps it would be different if two of the three meats weren’t a bit too dry. Also, with bbq pork, duck and crab, Sapp’s version has more going on than the triple pork version here.
- Phuket Style Fish Curry Kanomjean: This was one of our favourite dishes at our previous meal and we were looking forward to it. Luckily, it didn’t disappoint. At that meal we’d asked for it spicy and our waitress independently downgraded us to medium. Given that it was at the edge of my comfort zone that was probably a good thing. At this meal we accordingly asked for it at medium and it came out somewhere between medium and mild. Still quite good. And once again we ate it after dumping everything in the accompanying plate in and mixing it up. If this is the wrong way to eat it, please let me know.
And pictures (with some desultory narrative):
We arrived bang in the middle of the lunch hour on a Wednesday, by the way, and it was quite busy. In keeping with its out-of-Thai Town, tourist zone location, it had a more mixed crowd than you’d see at most Thai Town places (other than Jitlada), and at one point we had a family of Chinese tourists next to us who went down the menu like good Minnesotans, asking for every single thing if it was spicy (most of them settled on pad Thai, which I’m sure is very good here too). Due to the rush it took a little while to get our order in and service was a bit spotty in general—and see also the zeed noodle soup mixup and the issue with heat levels. The food itself, however, came out at a steady clip once the order was in.
Though I said above that this meal didn’t thrill quite as much as our outing in January, we did finish everything at the meal itself. This is largely because only one dish (the fish curry) was heavy, and partly because we are greedy. All of this plus tax and tip came to about $68, which remains a screaming deal in the larger scheme of things. Still, I think we’ll go back to Jitlada and finally try Night+Market before coming back again to Luv2Eat.