Thursday, August 02, 2007

Jitlada redux: more great southern Thai tastes

curry soft shell crab

After our first time trying the Southern Thai menu at Jitlada (report here), we wanted to try a lot more dishes...so we needed to assemble several more people. Seven proved to be just right -- more than that can be unwieldy when trying to share lots of plates. We concentrated on the seafood selections mostly, and John said it was one of the best meals he's had anywhere lately -- and this guy eats everywhere. First Jazz brought us a little amuse (how do you say that in Thai?) of haw mok -- the steamed seafood custard was perfumed with kaffir lime leaves and filled with chunks of scallops and more -- a lovely start. Also on the menu were the wonderful blue crab salad, showered with lemongrass slices in a piquant, spicy sauce; fat steamed mussels in a delicate broth; amazing softshell crab curry, one of the milder dishes; zingy rice salad with a similar flavor profile to the blue crab salad, but sweeter and less spicy; clam curry with betel leaves which gave an earthy flavor to the soupy curry; a whole bass showered with fried garlic and a multi-layered chili sauce to go on top; and fishballs stuffed with egg in yellow curry sauce. fish balls in curry stuffed with duck eggs
This was the only thing remotely "wierd" that we ordered but it was actually great -- I was skeptical of fish balls since it seems most Thai restaurants use the bouncy, premade Superball variety; but Jitlada's seem housemade and cleverly formed around hardboiled duck egg yolks, served in fragrant curry sauce. John was a little disappointed that we ordered everything just slightly spicy, so he had them make their incendiary beef curry just for him, and we were all happy. raw blue crab salad
We were thoroughly stuffed, but couldn't resist the sticky rice and mango, which one of our party said was the best they've had; the fried bananas, which were crunchy bits of freshly fried pleasure unlike any lame versions you've had before; and housemade coconut ice cream, which in the Thai style is just coconut milk with no dairy.
This has got to be one of the most exciting, centrally located, reasonably priced dining experiences in the city right now, so don't miss it, and try some of the unusual Southern Thai dishes from the menu on the back page.

5 comments:

Ellen Bloom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ellen Bloom said...

Wow! Thanks for the great new menu suggestions at Jitlada. I'll never order Pad Thai and salad with peanut dressing again!

natalie@theliquidmuse.com said...

You've convinced me. My mouth is now watering for Thai curry (with fish balls and duck eggs) at 8:45 am!

Did you try any interesting drinks?

Xander said...

Sounds like a great restaurant- and I'm thrilled that they serve fish amok. I've developed a real taste for it over the past few months, and was worried about where I'd be able to find it when I return to Los Angeles. -X

silverlake bodhisattva said...

Got there a week ago Friday, with the Cam-Man in tow, and a print-out of the translation of the back-page Southern Thai menu. Camster went adolescent on me: "You are NOT bringing that in, please! Memorize what you want from it! Do not be completely embarassing, or I will NOT eat with you!"

Much to my amusement, the identical printed translation is now taped on the menu...