When Kevin invited me to a blogger tasting event at Nakkara--a Thai fusion restaurant on Beverly Blvd--I gladly invited the invitation for three reasons. 1) I haven't met Kevin in person yet, and I've been an admirer of his blog kevinEats for the longest time. 2) I love Thai food. I can't turn down Thai food. 3)It was scheduled for the day after my accounting midterms. I knew I'd be needing some cheering up. What could be better than a special 13-course tasting menu at a Thai restaurant with a group of fellow food bloggers?
Nakkara on Beverly
7669 Bevely Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Nakkara Mieng Kham
toasted coconut, cashew nut, dried shrimp, diced lime, Thai chili, red onion, and thick sweet mieng sauce
We started with this nice one-bite offering wrapped in a cleverly cut and folded leaf of romaine lettuce. Inside the lettuce was all kinds of yummy things. The most apparent was the dried shredded coconut--present in the wrap and the accompanying sauce. Amy of theroamingbelly convinced me this was a one-bite thing, so I put the entire thing in my mouth. It was a very BIG bite for me but a wonderful bite when my teeth found the little wedge of lime hidden in the lettuce. It provided such a nice refreshing burst of citrus.
Spicy Filet Mignon Skewer
grilled filet mignon, bell peppers, green curry sauce
The ensuing dish was also a nice one-bite deal. A skewered piece of tender beef, resting inside a shot glass full of delicious green curry. Needless to say, I downed the sauce in the shot glass after the bite of meat.
Garlic Lamb Chop
grilled marinated lamb chop, crispy garlic
This was a nicely prepared lamb chop--cooked to a good temperature, perfect amount of lamb flavor. While I am usually not a fan of the taste of garlic cooked to a crisp, it worked in this dish. The squeeze of lime was also a nice touch. The bell pepper garnish (which we saw in the previous dish and will see in some later dishes) was used too excessively in my opinion. Bell pepper has a beautiful color as a garnish, but also such a strong flavor.
Peking Duck Rolls
Peking roast duck, romaine heart, rice paper wrap, Hoisin & Sriracha dipping sauce
This dish reminded me of vietnamese spring rolls--light and refreshing. I always get excited when I see duck on the menu but in this case, the name Peking duck was a little misleading. To me, Peking duck implies that some crispy duck skin is involved. There was only duck meat in the roll. The sauce was also a little too salty and overpowering for me. I preferred the roll without the sauce.
steamed mixed seafood, coconut milk, red curry paste
calamari, scallop, shrimp, crab meat
Such an intriguing name for a dish! This is the restaurant's signature dish and it didn't disappoint. The serving vessel itself was fascinating--the owner explain that he had brought them from Thailand and that is it usually used for a dessert dish. In this case, each little compartment contained a nice little "surprise" of calamari, scallops, and shrimp topped with curry-soaked crab meat. I had initially thought that there would be a different "surprise" under each lid, but it turns out they were all the same. No complaints though! Just the act of revealing what was underneath those little domed lids was exciting!
Shrimp Tom Yum
hot and sour broth made with aroma of fragrant herbs, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, fresh lime, and chili
Nice clear broth that was refreshing--just your typical Tom Yum soup. The lemongrass and lime flavors were very apparent. I enjoyed it and actually preferred it to the other soup of the night.
Chicken Tom Kha
coconut milk and hot and sour broth made with aroma of fragrant herbs, galangal, lemon grass, and chili
Both the soups were poured at the table, which I always enjoy. This soup was basically like the Tom Yum just with some coconut milk added into the mix. It was a little heavier but still good. The pieces of chicken were a little bit dry though--ironic since they're in soup?
Green Papaya Salad
shredded green papaya, cherry tomato, green beans, chili lime dressing
I actually really enjoyed this salad. I usually stay away from green papaya salads because I've had a few that are ridiculously spicy. This one was at the perfect heat level for me--just a nice warm burn at the back of the throat. Sweat wasn't beading up on my forehead, I wasn't downing the entire glass of water. It was actually very refreshing. Although usually topped with peanuts, this salad came topped with cashews. I applaud the choice of cashews because it provided a nice, sweet, smooth, creamy touch of nuttiness.
Soft Shell Crab Panaeng
deep-fried soft shell crab, crispy basil leaves, Panaeng curry paste
If soft shell crab is on the menu, I order it. Here, it was a little overpowered by the sauce. However, overall it was still very delicious--just not the best Thai soft shell crab I've had...
flamed grilled marinated rib-eye steak, dried chili pepper sauce
This was my favorite dish. The marinated steak came with a great tangy sauce. There was something crunchy in the sauce--I'm not quite sure what it was but it was really good. The meat was cooked to a good temperature again--as was apparent in most of our meat dishes. The accompanying crudités were also a nice touch of freshness.
deep-fried catfish, young peppercorn, Krachai roots, red chili paste
Tasty, but by this point I was getting pretty full. I managed to eat two pieces of it, but now that im thinking about them and im hungry, I wouldn't mind eating a few more. I'm also not quite sure why it was named 911 Catfish...it wasn't particularly spicy, although I'm thankful for that.
Seafood Pad Thai
the most popular street food in Thailand + the freshest seafood from the Pacific coast
I found the pad thai to be too sweet--even with a generous squeeze of lime. Come here for their other dishes. This was the only one that really didn't work for me.
Surf & Turf Fried Rice
grilled filet mignon, shrimp, ginger fried rice
The shrimp found on this dish were very similar to the ones on the pad thai. Thankfully, neither was overcooked. The bell pepper in the fried rice was very apparent, while the ginger not so much.
Mango & Sweet Sticky Rice
Thailand's traditional summer dessert
The mangos were delicious! Perfectly ripe, not stringy, and definitely tasted like the wonderfully, smooth, sweet mangos I've had in Asia. Not the dry, stringy ones that I've gotten a few times here. The sticky rice was a little sweet for me but probably perfect for most people. I just loved the mangos!
Nakkara's business card describes itself as a "Thai-inspired" cuisine and it is just that. We had some lovely dishes that evoked familiar flavors associated with Thai food, while remaining at a perfect level of spiciness. 13 courses was a lot but we worked out way through each one happily.
It was so great to eat with everyone there!
Amy of The Roaming Belly
Danny of Kung Food Panda
Diana of Diana Takes a Bite
Felicia of The Food Ledger
Kevin of Kevin Eats