It’s been nearly a year since I’ve written about Night+Market, the ultra-popular West Hollywood Thai “street food” restaurant, and quite a lot has happened in the past year. Most significantly, Night+Market Song, the long-awaited Silver Lake location debuted in March. Helmed by power-couple Kris Yenbamroong and Sarah St. Lifer, back-of-house and front-of house, respectively, Song has been receiving accolades from the start. While less convenient a location for me personally, I made a point to dine there a handful of times since opening but had not been back very recently. Having my sister, her husband, and their toddler son visit this weekend was the perfect excuse to have a big meal with them and my own clan.
Arriving right at 6 PM on a Saturday, we squeaked in before the crowds built. By the time we left shortly before 8 PM, a large crowd had gathered outside waiting for tables. I was in charge of ordering, and with some direction from the lovely Ms. Sarah, I got a good variety of dishes, including all four items on the Specials menu that night, starting with…
Pla Meuk Tod Gratiem ($12), wild Thai baby octopus, battered & fried, topped w/garlic & chile oil; served w/sriracha: This was one of the specials of the night. My friend Chris, who recently had this dish, said it reminded him of the Cantonese classic, Salt and Pepper Squid, and I have to agree. The batter was light and crisp, the octopus was tender yet snappy, and the dish had a mild heat that snuck up on you. The sriracha, perhaps made in-house, was smooth and a little tangy.
Larb Tod ($10), fried pork, pork liver, pork blood “meatballs” w/garlic oil & rau ram: This was once a Specials but now appears on the regular menu at Song. It reminded me more of a sausage patty than a meatball, and it’s not as mineral-y as straight liver. It’s a good gateway offal dish.
Moo Yang Nom Khon ($9), fatty pork shoulder, soaked in condensed milk & fresh turmeric overnight, grilled & served over cucumber relish: A relatively new addition to the regular menu, the cut of pork in this dish is very similar to the very popular Pork Toro dish, which is made with neck or jowl meat. As a very flavorful, yet non-spicy, dish, this was a big hit with my kids, and really with everyone at the table.
Khao Pote Ping Ping ($7), grilled sweet corn brushed w/coconut milk & seasonings: This was another dish from the Specials menu. The corn was indeed sweet and perfectly cooked. This was an excellent dish in its simplicity. It’s also vegan. Only gripe I have with it is the price. $7 for three half-cobs isn’t highway robbery, but seems a little pricey to me.
Nam Khao Tod ($9), crispy rice salad w/sour pork, raw ginger, onion, peanuts, cilantro, bird’s eye chili: This is one of my favorite dishes at Night+Market, where it was a consistent presence on the Specials menu before becoming a regular menu item at both locations. A rather spicy dish, the two youngest at the table did not partake, but the rest of us really enjoyed it!
Pork Toro ($7), grilled fatty pig neck w/’jaew’ Northeastern chile dip: As mentioned above, this is one of Night+Market’s most popular dishes. Known as kor moo yang in Thai, this cut of meat is also very popular in Korean BBQ, where it is known as hangjungsal. While I love this dish, I think I liked the Moo Yang Nom Khon slightly better, though my wife felt the opposite. Regardless, there wasn’t a speck of either dish left by the end of the meal.
Gai Tod Naeng Noi ($11), fried chicken thighs served with namprik maengda (waterbug relish): Another item from the Specials menu, the fried chicken thighs were crisp on the outside, moist on the inside, but of course everyone wanted to talk about the Thai relish made with the steamed innards of waterbugs. I had had the namprik maengda last year at Night+Market in WeHo, and I found it to be innocuous. It has a floral and/or herbal taste, nothing that you’d imagine a bug tasting like. I also found it to leave a slight tingling in my mouth, more like from eucalyptus than from chiles. The relish at this meal was really tasty; it was more smokey than what I had before, and I used the generous portion of relish long after the fried chicken thighs were gone, on the corn and with other dishes, it was that good!
Moo Sadoong ($9), grilled pork, basil, lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, lime, chile, onions, cilantro, rice powder: Another popular dish on the regular menu, the ‘Startled Pig’ (the English translation of the dish’s name) is just multitude of flavor bombs in one dish. It is also is quite spicy but can be made relatively mild. It’s great on sticky rice. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves pork.
Khao Pad American ($14), Thai strip club fried rice w/frozen peas ‘n’ carrots & raisins. Topped w/a sunny-side-up egg, served w/wiener blossoms & chicken wings: The final item from the Specials menu, this was a fun dish! The fried rice was sweet with the raisins, but it worked. The hot-dog-topus were amusing! I didn’t get to try the wings, but my younger daughter seemed to love it. Not sure what makes this “strip club fried rice” since it seems more to me like “dorm kitchen” or “fridge/pantry leftovers” fried rice, where you just take whatever you have on hand and whip up a meal that’s a bit rough around the edges yet oddly satisfying.
Pad Thai, ($9), rice noodles, sweet radish, tofu, crushed peanuts, chile powder: Our last dish of the night is not something I’d usually order, but I wanted to make sure those in our party who didn’t eat spicy had options. The truth is that Night+Market’s pad thai works because of its simplicity, and I polished off quite a bit of this dish myself as everyone else was starting to get full toward the end of the meal.
As you can see, Night+Market Song, like Night+Market before it, is a great place to bring a large party. There’s such a wide variety of dishes, and many are in the single-digit dollar range, so order a bunch and experiment! Having said that, I’ve also been to both locations alone, ordering just two dishes and getting out for under $30 including tax and tip for dinner, and leaving satisfied!
Night+Market Song is truly a labor of love for chef Kris Yenbamroong, to leave the well-oiled machine of Night+Market WeHo and enter a space somewhat off the beaten path, where he’s the chef every night. Apparently, Kris thrives under that pressure, because he’s turning out great new dishes as well as executing on the classics flawlessly. I need to make a point of returning more often!
3322 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026