Hours: Lunch: Monday, Wednesday-Saturday; dinner: Sunday-Monday, Wednesday-Saturday
Open late: Friday & Saturday till midnight
The area's sole restaurant with a Lao menu, this strip-mall storefront also serves Thai food, including Isan specialties. Alcohol is prohibited.
It's safe to say that this tiny strip-mall storefront is the only restaurant in the region serving Lao food of any kind. Chef-owner Kaew Saengsom grew up in the northeastern Isan region of Thailand, which borders Laos, and while her regular menu is dominated by all the typical Ameri-Thai standards, her Isan dishes, which she'll prepare on request, reflect Lao influences. For example, her exceptional version of som tam, the iconic spicy-sweet-sour salad, features unevenly hacked batons of papaya, making for a superior texture, and homemade fish paste and tamarind in addition to the typical seasonings (chile, fish sauce, lime juice). She serves straight Lao food too, like the breakfast soup kow tome, its meaty chicken broth slicked with red chile oil; there's also a dense chicken sausage studded with shreds of lemongrass and galangal root, and knobby fried chicken patties with a sweet chile sauce. But Saengsom isn't rigidly beholden to her home's cuisine. She stuffs my new favorite egg rolls with cabbage, glass noodles, chiles, and an abundance of turmeric that is more in the style of southern Thai food than northeastern, a flavor echoed in her beef pad tamin, a dry-currylike preparation with meat and vegetables, almost Indian in character. In fact, it's probably more appropriate to characterize Saengsom's food not as Lao or Isan but as her very own, food you aren't going to taste anywhere but in her Burbank strip mall. It's well worth the drive. Read the full review >>
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