Night + Market Song
Before each home game this season, ClipperBlog will run “ClipperBlog Eats,” a restaurant recommendation from its resident restaurant reviewer, Ben Mesirow. Below is today’s suggestion:
The stretch of Sunset Blvd just east of Sunset Junction is busy and thoroughly restaurant-dense. But even on a crowded block of a high-profile street in an area full to bursting with new restaurants, Night + Market Song stands out. Mostly, at least at first, it stands out visually – the exterior of the restaurant is painted a bright, hammy pink, with Song in a jaunty red above the window. From the outside the restaurant looks fun, loud and inviting, transforming what is really just a small-ish box of a building into something unique.
Night + Market Song is as exuberant inside as it is outside – the walls are a lively red-orange, decorated with vintage posters of Cindy Crawford and interviews with Chef Kris Yenbamroong cut out of Hustler Magazine. People mill about sort of everywhere, waiting for a table, running into friends, striking up conversations about Thiago Splitter’s health and which bands were totally disappointing at Coachella with the neighboring two-top, placed just close enough that they can jealously eye the dishes that the waiters slide onto the kitschy plastic tablecloths. But make no mistake – beneath the casual, playful vibe there is some seriously outstanding cooking.
The menu itself can be a little overwhelming, divided into five sections with dishes written in Thai, then transliterated, then priced, and then finally described in English. Many of those dishes will be unfamiliar to the average diner, like nam prik gapi, which the menu describes as a ‘classic stinky relish’ served with fried eggplant for dipping, or the moo yang nom khon, pork shoulder marinated in condensed milk and turmeric, then grilled and served with a cucumber salad.
Whichever dishes you choose, though, you should be prepared for two things – they will be spicy and they will be delicious. The papaya salad som tum fits that standard to a T, sharply spicy even when ordered mild but also wonderfully bright and acidic. The Startled Pig is another favorite, spicy but not overwhelmingly so, lightly funky with fish sauce and livened by herbs. The selection of larb is excellent as well, as are the many varieties of khao soi and assorted other noodles. For the truly adventurous there is the pork blood and MSG dipping soup, and if that sounds a little far out there is also pad thai, pad see ew, and their not-so-secret secret fried chicken sandwich.
If the experience of table service is a little too much for your playoff-addled nerves, Night + Market Song is also one of the best places in town to eat at the bar. The wine is interesting and the beer is (intentionally) not, and one or two spicy-ass dishes and a drink may be the perfect way to get hype for game two. 3322 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026; nightmarketla.com