Saturday, October 12, 2013

Palms Thai Restaurant - Los Angeles

We went to Los Angeles to see War Horse at the Pantages and went early to have dinner before-hand. Judy found a Thai restaurant on Yelp called Palms Thai Restaurant located at 5900 Hollywood Blvd (323-462-5073). It is just about half a mile from the Pantages. It gets a 4 rating with 1,323 reviews. What attracted me to the restaurant, particularly, was their "Wild Things" menu which includes dishes with ingredients like trout, quail, wild boar, frog and deer. It also has unusual preparations like raw pork sausage, fish maw, raw ground beef mixed with various ingredients, raw shrimp, boneless chicken feet and ground catfish. What is not to love about that? And that is just a small piece of a many page menu.

I was sorely tempted by the deep fried quail with chili and holy basil and sliced wild boar sauteed in curry sauce, basil and coconut milk, but I settled on "tender sliced deer sauteed with curry sauce, coconut milk, basil leaves and green peppercorn."
green peppercorn deer curry
The deer came in thin strips that were a little chewy, much more so than beef would be. But it was moist and the basil and curry had a nice kick to it. The Yelp reviews talked about how hot the food was so when asked how hot I wanted it, I replied "medium," and I would not have wanted any more than it was. Aside from a very large helping of venison it had fresh basil, red and green bell peppers, slices of a green pepper that were probably either jalapeno or serrano and green peppercorns. 
I don't know that I've ever had green peppercorns before, at least prepared this way. Peppercorns are the unripe berries of Piper Nigrum, a tropical vine. The berries grow on spikes with 50 to 60 berries per spike. White, green, red and black peppercorns all come from the same berry. Green peppercorns are unripe berries, picked at the same stage as black peppercorns, but black peppercorns are allowed to dry in the sun and the skin turns black in the drying process. Green peppercorns are usually pickled in vinegar or brine, but the ones I had I believe were freeze-dried and thus more flavorful. They have a mild, much more suppressed peppery flavor and are much less pungent (biting). Red peppercorns are the mature berries that ripen to that color on the vine. White peppercorns are the red peppercorns that have been soaked and rubbed free of the outer skin down to the white under layer, then dried and bleached by the sun.  They are slightly milder than black peppercorns.  The green peppercorns in my dish came connected on a spike with a cluster of the berries. I did not realize what they were (I'd forgotten the name of the ingredients on the dish at that point - frankly I'd just focused on deer) and plopped the whole spike into my mouth at once (the dish had several spikes). I was aware of the stem and the individual berries. It did not come across to me as peppery, but was an interesting combination of textures that was a nice contrast to the spicy, hot, salty curry, the somewhat leathery deer and the wilted basil and moderately crunchy peppers. 
green peppercorns on a spike
Judy considered the boar, but settled on roasted duck curry, which included pineapple chunks, tomato, bell pepper, basil leaves, and sliced roast duck in a coconut milk curry. Roast duck curry is one of Judy's favorites and she gets it often. She says it was as good as any she's had and it was a nice large quantity. 
roasted duck curry
As an appetizer we got a half bbq chicken with sweet and sour sauce on the side. At least one Yelp review said it was the best bbq chicken they'd ever tasted. I was disappointed by it. The dark meat was good, not great, the sweet and sour sauce was not as good as some I've had and the white meat was way too dry. I've had the same dish at several of our local Thai restaurants in Redlands (Siam Dish and Benjarongs) and both have better chicken and better sauces, although this portion was very large. 
bbq chicken with sweet and sour sauce
The white meat was dry.
Palms Thai is apparently known for an Elvis show. We were too early and I was not disappointed to miss it. The service was quick, there was nice parking for $2.50, but the peppercorn deer curry was really outstanding. I would like to order it again. But next time I go I am going to order the boar curry. It had a number of favorable reviews on Yelp. It is unfair that LA has such an abundance of great restaurants. I'm glad that we can get out occasionally and sample them. 
setting for the Elvis show


  1. The location just down the street from the Pantages can't be beat. With such a huge menu, there's bound to be something for everyone. Next time, I'd like to be there to hear one of their Elvis impersonators.

  2. i need to eat what you represented in your thai delivery post, minus the roll. i like the house created coconut frozen dessert in Kingdom of Thailand, and since our frozen dessert here hardly qualifies as real food, I indulge whenever I actually have the chance to eat real frozen dessert. i do not suppose it'd be too uncommon tasting, though, simply terribly yummy!