Red Thai & Sushi in Hollywood takes me back to my early culinary adventures in Singapore, when I often took the train through Malaysia to the teeming Thai capital of Bangkok.
Jovial chef-owner Jariya Phillips, known to all as Yaya, keeps customers coming back for spicy Thai dishes and sushi. Mixed Thai-Japanese cuisine is common in her native Bangkok, where sushi, sashimi and tempura often share the menu with coconut-milk curries, herb-infused salads and stir-fried noodles.
A sushi bar merges into the open kitchen, where smoking woks emit delicious scents. Fans of Japanese food will find all their favorites on the extensive menu.
If you’re here for Thai, start with char-broiled chicken satay with creamy peanut sauce, breaded ground chicken and shrimp nuggets with lemony mayo or tom kha — coconut milk soup infused with lemongrass, galangal (a spicy ginger-like root), kaffir lime leaves and crushed red pepper flakes. A house specialty is pla rad phrik, whole, deep-fried red snapper, sans backbone, smothered in tangy-sweet chile sauce and presented on a bed of steamed broccoli florets. Mahi mahi, yellow tail, grouper and salmon also can also be ordered this way (or steamed). Thai grilled beef salad with mint, lime juice and cucumber is a crowd pleaser, good as a side with fried rice, pad Thai or pad woon san, cellophane noodles tossed with bits of egg, baby corn, mushrooms and tomato.
Red curry brings slices of rolled chicken breast stuffed with julienned snow peas and carrots in a smoky, burnt-orange sauce of coconut milk, red chiles, bamboo shoots, bell pepper, zucchini and aromatic Thai basil. Any of the curries — red, green, Panang (mellow and peanutty), massaman (in a creamy peanut base with carrots and potatoes) and pineapple (with coconut milk and tomatoes) — can be made with a choice of protein including tofu.
Best desserts are pumpkin custard and sweet sticky rice with mango. Aroy! (Delicious!)
Red Thai & Sushi, 1924 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood (near Young Circle); 954-921-1988. Lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon-Fri, dinner 4:30-11 p.m. Sun-Thurs and until 1 a.m. Fri & Sat. Rolls $4.95-$10.95, noodles and fried rice $12.95, Thai entrees $12.95-$18.95
FYI: Weekday Thai lunch dishes with chicken, beef or pork cost $7.50 (add $2 for shrimp or scallops).
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