Thursday, March 01, 2012

Night + Market (West Hollywood, CA) [3]

Night+Market at Talesai
9041 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Thu 03/01/2012, 06:55p-11:40p

Recently, Asian-American social networking site Privy launched its Privy Supper Club series in the US with a dinner event at Night+Market. The evening featured Chef Kris Yenbamroong's modern northern Thai cuisine, along with food-friendly wines hand-selected by Jeannie Cho Lee, the first and only Master of Wine of Asian descent and one of the world's foremost authorities on pairing Asian food and wine. Based out of Hong Kong, she was in town for one night only, and came to speak to us about her background and her new book Mastering Wine for the Asian Palate.

Guests Mingling
Some pre-dinner mingling/networking.

Lorie Kim, Victoria Parr
Lorie Kim and Victoria Parr, Founder and Producer, respectively, of Wine Central Media, a wine-centric video acquisition, production, and distribution company.

Stephen Liu Brian Liu
Kris Yenbamroong
Teddy Zee Jeannie Cho Lee
Before dinner, we heard from Privy founder Stephen Liu, event co-sponsor and LegalZoom co-founder Brian Liu, Chef Kris, longtime Hollywood producer Teddy Zee, and of course, Jeannie.

Prvy Asian Palate Menu at Night+Market
The night's street food-inspired menu featured an 11-course family-style degustation of some of Night+Market's most popular dishes, priced at $110 per person, inclusive of the tipple naturally. Click for a larger version.

Wine Selection
Wines for the evening included:
  • NV vouvray brut, 'la dilettante', pierre & catherine breton, loire, france
  • 2010 spätburgunder, 'blanc de noirs', schlossmühlenhof, rheinhessen, germany
  • 2010 cuvée pif (côt / cabernet france) clos roche blanche, loire, france
Pu Pad Pong Karee / Curried Crab
1: Pu Pad Pong Karee / Curried Crab | jumbo lump crab, curry powder, onions
And so we begin. Generous chunks of sweet, supple crab really did a great job showing off the true essence of the crustacean. Somewhat surprisingly, the curry and onions didn't overwhelm the dish, complementing the crab wonderfully instead. Tasty.

Fried Pig Tail
2: Fried Pig Tail | lime, cilantro, chile
Yenbamroong's pig tail was a bite to behold. I loved its perfect combination of lean and fat, dripping with pig-y sapor, and encased in a crisp, savory shell of fried goodness. The weight of the meat was beautifully moderated by the piquant, spicy combination of lime, cilantro, and chile, making this a table favorite. It compared very favorably with Spice Table's epic version.

Two Lovely Ladies

Moo Ping / Pork Satay + Pork Toro
3: Moo Ping / Pork Satay | bathed in condensed milk, with cucumber relish, peanut sauce
4: Pork Toro | jaew, northeastern chile dip
At this point, a metal tray containing even more pork was placed before us. First up was the Chef's take on satay. It was definitely a cut above your typical presentation of the ubiquitous dish, with a lovely savoriness from the meat deftly played against the sweetness of the condensed milk, all with an undercurrent of bitter char. Yenbamroong's so-called pork "toro," meanwhile, was even more decadent. Basically what we had was grilled pork collar, fatty and unctuous in character, with a springy bite and loads of flavor. This was pretty intense, so the included condiments did a great job in cutting the heft of the meat.

Sai Uah / Chiengrai Herb Sausage
5: Sai Uah / Chiengrai Herb Sausage | nam prik noom, cucumber
Night+Market's sai uah might just be the tastiest tubed meat in town, with its unmitigated, rustic mix of salty and spicy flavors, accented by a delightful herbaceous character. Delicious alone, the sausage also paired swimmingly with the included nam prik noom chili condiment.

Guests Seated

Sticky Rice Sweet Sticky Rice
Two types of sticky rice, one sweeter than the other, were brought out to temper the considerable heat of the dishes.

Moo Sadoong / Startled Pig
6: Moo Sadoong / Startled Pig | grilled pork, basil, lemongrass, fish sauce, lime, bird eye chile. SPICY
The "startled pig" easily takes the prize for the spiciest dish of the night--I was sweating after this one! Think loads of heat here, joined by the zestiness of basil and lemongrass and blended with the deep, aromatic qualities of fish sauce. It was an explosion of flavor really, but at the same time, you still were able to taste and enjoy the pork as well. This one was all about pain and pleasure.

Kua Gling / Border Beef
7: Kua Gling / Border Beef | tendertail w/ mortar-pounded southern chile paste
Beef makes its first (and only) appearance on the menu. I found the meat tender and tasty, with a certain peppery tang adroitly accented by an apparent, but not over-the-top spiciness.

Brian Liu, Kris Yenbamroong
Kris Yenbamroong with Brian Liu, who helped come up with the concept behind Night+Market.

Kar Moo Parlow / Whole Braised Pork Hock
8: Kar Moo Parlow / Whole Braised Pork Hock | skin on. slow-cooked with dark soy, five spice, garlic...very rich, very good
The most visually impressive course of the night brought us a whole slow-cooked pork knuckle with mustard greens. Not surprisingly, the hock was wonderfully tender and fatty, brimming with profoundly deep, dark, savory flavors and accented by delightful hints of sweetness and spice. It was a dish of near incomparable gravity, so the greenery here was key in providing balance and levity.

Kao Kluk Gapi / Shrimp Paste-Seasoned Rice
9: Kao Kluk Gapi / Shrimp Paste-Seasoned Rice | w/ candied pork, shredded egg omelette, red onion, green mango, cilantro, bird eye chile. pungent and delicious!!!
The kao kluk gapi, once again, was one of my favorite courses of the meal. The shrimp paste (kapi) was the key here, providing a heady, overarching, umami-tinged taste that deftly integrated the dish, while bits of candied pork added a delectable porcine sweetness to the fray. However, all that would be for naught were it not for the myriad of other ingredients at play. The egg, mango, cilantro, onion, and chile were essential as well, providing a combination of light, sweet, and acidic flavors that just made for a wonderful amalgam of disparate tastes and textures.

Pad Thai Talad
10: Pad Thai Talad | we do the traditional market version w/ sweet radish, peanuts, tofu, dried shrimp
Here was Yenbamroong's old school version of the most overexposed Thai dish of them all. I'm usually not a huge fan of pad thai, but enjoyed this one quite a bit. It was much more nuanced, with only a restrained sweetness and a great savoriness from the utilization of dried shrimp. I also liked the lightness and crunch of the bean sprouts, while the tofu lent body and substance to the dish.

Whole Branzino
11: Whole Branzino | 'three flavors'
The Chef's pièce de résistance comprised a whole branzino, done up in a sam ros style. The fish itself was spot on: tender, juicy, and fragrant, with a delectable savor and delightfully crisp skin. As such, it went perfectly with the "three flavors" (spicy-sweet-sour), making for a wonderful conclusion to the meal.

Lisa Ling
Yes, that's none other than TV personality Lisa Ling passing the branzino.

Sarah St. Lifer, Kris Yenbamroong
Kris with Huffington Post's Sarah St. Lifer.

Wine Central Media with Jeannie Cho Lee Kris Yenbamroong with Jeannie Cho Lee

Frog Legs
Toward the end of the night, the Chef brought out a special, experimental dish of frog legs that he was working on. It was phenomenal, arguably the best preparation of frog that I've had in fact (the other that comes to mind was at Joël Robuchon). The legs were juicy, succulent, tender, and just dripping with chicken-y, fishy goodness. The peppers and other greenery in the dish formed a perfectly pungent, spicy temper to the frog, making for a thoroughly enjoyable, wonderfully balanced eating experience. This needs to go on the menu pronto!

Sarah St. Lifer, Linda Sun Kim, John Suh Linda Sun Kim Birthday
Birthday girl Linda Sun Kim.

The Privy folks did a nice job in putting together this event, delivering an evening of great food, drink, and company. Hats off to the Chef as well, who served up a pretty much flawless meal. I first visited Night+Market a year ago, when the place was still under the radar. The food blew me away, and I've been a proponent of the restaurant ever since. It's great to see Yenbamroong finally getting some recognition for his work. Hell, he even got a nod from James Beard recently, so hopefully that trend continues.


Anonymous Stephen Liu said...

Nice review and photos Kevin! Glad you had a great time at our first Privy Supper Club in Los Angeles. Stay tuned for the next one. By the way, our article in the Privy Magazine is here:

Thursday, March 22, 2012 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Charlie Fu said...

Kar Moo Parlow was one of my favorite things in Thailand. Thunderstorm in the middle of Chinatown in Thailand and a lady scooped me a big ol bowl of rice with a bunch of pig knuckle and veggies with pickled cabbage out of a street cart. $1.50. man...

Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Stephen: Thanks again for putting on the event! So where's the next one going to be?

Charlie: Awesome--they serve it sliced in Thailand right? Have you been able to try Night+Market's version yet?

Sunday, March 25, 2012 4:03:00 AM  

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