Saturday, August 20, 2011

Only in Hollywood Can You Get Thai Food and Elvis Under One Roof

For Todd's last night in LA (he flies out to Arizona this afternoon to teach for a month), we walked down Hollywood Boulevard to one of our favorite Thai restauarnts (or Todd's anyway, I haven't sampled enough Thai food in this town to come to a decision): Palm's Thai Restaurant.

This restaurant is a bit, shall we say, unique, in that the front of the (extremely large, usually boisterous) interior is dominated by a stage set where people play live music next to a giant statue of Elvis Presley.

Apparently they have an "award-winning impersonator" who plays sometimes (this according to their website), though we have yet to be serenaded by Elvis while eating there (that guy playing up there isn't him). I'm actually kind of thankful for that...

They also have a giant fishtank and a pretty nice bar along one side of the room:

If you squint you can just make out the flashing neon sign for BOBA, Thai iced tea with tapioca balls, which is what Todd usually gets (I enjoy taking sips of his, but a full glass of boba would fill me up too much for dinner). This time, however, he opted for the Thai iced tea smoothie:

Basically just Thai iced tea (which I believe is usually made with sweetened condensed milk) blended with ice, this was nice and refreshing, the perfect thirst quencher while we perused the absolutely ginormous menu. Seriously, check it out online, it's crazy. And be sure to take a look at their "Wild Things" section, which has offerings such as these:

And these:

(Honestly, even with the boar and the deer and the spicy chicken feet, the item that intrigued me most was the one called "Raw Naked Shrimp with Spicy Sauce." Sounds like an advertisement for Thai food, Girls Gone Wild style.)

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that Todd and I both went pretty tame with our meal, but hey, we know what we like. We ordered an appetizer of fried tofu that came with a sweet dipping sauce chock full of peanut bits:

This actually wasn't my favorite dish: the tofu wasn't piping hot, and anything deep fried that is less than that just tastes kind of off to me. It was a little too on the chewy rather than crispy side for me, but wasn't greasy at all, and the sauce alongside was so good I could have eaten it with a spoon (and I actually did at one point, shhh). Also, just some warning for anyone intending to eat here and order appetizers before dinner: every dish you order will likely come out within about two minutes of each other. Seems they don't really do the whole "appetizer" and "entree" thing here. Which is fine, just good to know when you go.

Luckily my seafood noodle soup didn't disappoint:

It came with mussles, fish balls (anyone know how exactly those things are made and what exactly goes into them? I love them but they kind of scare me a little too), shrimp, squid, imitation crab (aka, krab), some little crunchy things, bean sprouts, scallions and a bucketload of rice noodles. Seriously, I felt like I was eating forever and there was still a whole bowl full of noodles leftover. I would have liked the ratio of fishy things to noodles to have been a bit heavier on the fishy things side, but it was still good. Todd ordered green curry with (more) fried tofu, which I will not post a picture of because it came out looking like vomit, but it was very tasty. Portions are generous here because you're meant to dine family style with a group, but this was good for us because we wound up with plenty leftover for next day's lunch.

Can't forget dessert, of course. Desserts at Asian restaurants don't tend to impress me, but Todd occasionally likes to order them. Unlike their extensive dinner menu, Palm's makes it easy for you to choose a dessert by only giving you two options: fried bananas or ice cream (coconut flavored that night). We went for the bananas:

Coated in a golden, crispy rice flour batter with coconut and sesame seeds, these looked great, but I'm sad to report that, like the fried tofu appetizer, these were not my favorite rendition of fried bananas I've had. I think these suffered in a similar way as the tofu for not being piping hot (does Palm's deep-fry all their fried items beforehand and keep them under a heat lamp, I wonder? These came out awfully quickly...) The inside should be practically melting and the batter shatteringly crisp - like the tofu, these were more chewy than crispy/melty, and they definitely could've used some sort of honey sauce as they lacked sweetness in my opinion. Though I managed to scarf down several pieces, so it couldn't have been that bad, right?

All in all Palm's Thai is a funky, fun place, with good prices and usually pretty decent food. There's a good mix of traditional dishes common to all Thai restaurants along with some more adventurous items for those who want to branch out. I'll let you know if we ever end up going on a night when the Elvis impersonator's in town...

5900 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 462-5073

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