Ruen Pair1There’s a group of five or six Thai restaurants in the same little, well — I don’t know what to call it.  It’s not a strip mall.  It’s a small parking lot with shops (mostly restaurants) bordering it called “New Hollywood Plaza”.  These kinds of things aren’t uncommon in LA, but usually the percentage of restaurants to other little shops that make you wonder how they stay in business isn’t so high.  Anyway, I’ve tried 4 of the restaurants and they have all been amazing in their own way.  I’ll write about the others soon, but today I’m writing about the Ruen Pair at 5257 Hollywood Boulevard in Thai Town.

You’ll notice that it has a “B” in the window, and perhaps it was for this reason that I tried 3 others first.  But I sure am glad it didn’t deter me from sampling the joys of the Ruen Pair.  The menu here is incredible, everything looks amazing.  So what to choose for a first time?  I took a chance on the roast duck with basil and peppers, and shrimp with noodles and chinese broccoli.  The roast duck was a really pleasant surprise.  Too often (read “almost always”) it seems like an order of anything with duck means a few measly slivers of meat, but these dish was just as it should be, about the duck.   I took a chance of doing medium spicy, because YJNK (you just never know) about these things, but it was really wonderful; spicy and luscious.  The flavor evolved; at first, the roast duck taste predominated, filling itself in my mouth, but soon the hot/sour/salty/sweet Thai philosophy worked it’s way into the equation, and the flavors opened up over a few moments, like the difference between a photo and a film.  I love those Thai rice noodles and the thick brown sauce.  I wasn’t sure which meat to get with it, so I asked the waitress what she likes and she said unhesitatingly that she loves the shrimp.

Ruen Pair2

By the way, I noticed this waitress eating her lunch at a table when I walked in.  I think it speaks well of a place when someone who works in a restaurant wants to eat the food.  There is an expression “Eat your own dogfood”, which means, for example, “Would you use the software that you have written as a user?”.  Would you eat the dogfood that you have produced for dogs?  I’ve known a lot of people who have worked in restaurants who have said very strongly that they would never eat there after seeing what went on in the kitchen.  No fear of this at Ruen Pair!

If you like Thai ice tea, they serve a very nice glass.

Oh, did I mention how cheap this place is?  Each entree was like $5.50.  And you won’t see many Americans here.  They’ll all be at Natalie Thai down on Robertson eating make-believe Thai food and paying three times as much.  The “New Hollywood Plaza” is where Thai folks come to eat Thai food.   But they are totally American friendly and helpful.  I was completely satisfied with the meal, and I had enough left-over to take home and share leftovers with my wife for a lunch.  I certainly will go back!

Categories: My Thursday Lunch, Thai

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