Quick Eats: Chan Dara

Restaurant: Chan Dara

Location: 11940 W. Pico Blvd. (1/2 blk East of Bundy) West Los Angeles, CA 90064Phone: 310 479-4461

Date: December 19, 2010

Cuisine: Thai

Rating: Very good modernized Thai


Chan Dara is one of those funny places that doesn’t exactly fit the model of the traditional ethnic joint (which food-wise, it is). It has a bit more decor than the typical Thai place might, and it has a full bar and TVs running the game. But basically, this is a well run and reliable Thai restaurant with a big menu. Going with the decor, things are a little more Americanized, which is fine for most of my fellow diners, as a very traditional Thai place can be VERY spicy and/or use a lot of fish sauce.

Red wine doesn’t really go with Thai. My last bottle of this drier riesling. To me it tastes like flowers. “Lush lime scents are found in the delightful aromatics of the 1998 Riesling Cuvee Theo. This is a well-structured, pure, suave, concentrated, dense, yet elegant wine. Loads of spices, minerals, and fresh, crisp white fruits can be found in this chewy textured, medium-bodied offering. Projected maturity: 2002-2008.”

The very reliable chicken and beef satay. I love the juicy beef satay here. The sweet/spicy peanut sauce is great too, and the pickles.

Saigon,” roles. These soft rice crepe rolls are stuffed with various veggies. It’s all in the sweet sauce though.

Tom-Yum-Goong. The classic chili, lemongrass broth with mushrooms and shrimp. Given the cold and rainy day a little soup hit the spot.

Crispy Veggie rolls. My toddler’s favorite — well if you discount the rice crackers.

The sides for the coming dish.

Beef kabob on fire.

And here is the fire.  They dump some Bacardi 151 on top and light. Despite the show, the meat is wonderfully tender and has a great flavor.

Vegetarian pad Thai, with steamed tofu. This dish has the slightly exotic sweet/fishy tang that it is supposed to.

Pineapple duck curry. I love red currys, and this one is particularly good. Chunks of dark duck meat combine with the pinapple into a sweet/savory blend. Just a little heat (Chan Dara is a VERY mild Thai joint), but a lot of flavor.

Mango Salmon with cashews.  You can also see the coconut rice. Asian white rice is great, but a little coconut makes it even better. Then drench it in some red curry.

As usual, I ate too much.