Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By September Dawn Bottoms
Observer Staff Writer 

Emporium Thai Helps You Focus On The Divine...... The Divine UCLA Shrimp Curry

"Crying Tiger Beef is Thai-style chargrilled beef marinated with herbs and thinly sliced....."

 

November 11, 2017

Tom Yum: unbelievably clean. A clear lemongrass soup dotted with chicken and mushrooms. It cleansed my palate and soothed my soul all in one.

From the outside, Emporium Thai looks like a typical hole in the wall. It's wedged between a dental pharmacy and a thai massage spa on a busy street in Westwood. Equipped with a neon sign and classic elephant painting, it has a somewhat seedy curb appeal.

Inside however, it's a warm welcome. It's a small venue, with booths lining one wall and tables on another that lead all the way back to a little black bar, a convenient place to sit and have a drink while waiting for takeout.

The walls are a deep orange which makes you feel like you're sitting in candlelight and feels a bit romantic however, there was line starting at the bar and went practically all the way out the door. Despite the charming, romantic atmosphere I had grumpy patrons standing next to my table, eager for takeout. Not a total mood killer, but definitely not the best vibes.

First things first, I ordered the quintessential Thai Iced Tea which was, absolutely perfect. Not oversaturated with cream and sugar but not too bitter either. To compliment it and get the feast started, I added another classic, Cream Cheese Wonton Rangoons.

I know what you're thinking. I go to a nice place to do a food review and I order cream cheese wontons? But c'mon! They're a staple in my diet and I must say my guest and I scarfed them down before the second appetizer had time to hit the table.

The wontons were crispy and delicious. Sometimes you get them and the wonton part is less crispy and more gooey because there is just too much cream cheese but that was not the case. Just around the time that I was stuffing the last one into my mouth the second appetizer hit the table.

The Crying Tiger Beef is thai-style chargrilled beef marinated with herbs and thinly sliced. The dish was accompanied by a home made chili sauce that blew the beef out of the water and ended up being my favourite part of the dish. It's quite hot so it's not necessary to slather it on, rather than dip it, the small bit of smoky, earthy flavor travels far. I ended up keeping the chili sauce on the table to add to the rest of the meal. The beef was okay, a little over charred and not much flavour without the sauce.

A few too many minutes later a soup and salad arrived. Now, the salad was something I would not have ordered myself, and the presentation of it didn't really change my mind, much less the taste, but the publicist took it upon herself to add to my original order. The salad was a large mound of iceberg lettuce that was drowning in slices of colorful mango, topped with dried coconut and the tiniest amount of shrimp. It was difficult to eat and not the slightest bit tasty.

The Tom Yum however, was unbelievably clean. A clear lemongrass soup dotted with chicken and mushrooms. It cleansed my palate and soothed my soul all in one.

I had to force myself to put the soup aside and focus on my divine looking and tasting UCLA Shrimp Curry.

UCLA Shrimp Curry: a classic yellow curry with creamy pumpkin. Light, creamy and slightly spicy it was by far my favourite of the evening.

It's a classic yellow curry with creamy pumpkin. Light, creamy and slightly spicy it was by far my favourite of the evening. Served in a shallow saucer, it radiates a golden yellow color. They weren't skimpy on the shrimp but I would have preferred a few more bits of pumpkin! The curry was accompanied by a small tin of white rice, also cooked to perfection and was the perfect amount of rice to soak up all of the curry.

To top it off I enjoyed savory mango and sticky rice, again keeping that romantic vibe, the rice was cut into a heart shape and drizzled with sweet milk.

I can't wait to go back and try more of Emporium Thai's dishes.

Emporium Thai restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, Monday - Thursday 11:00 AM - 10:30 PM, Friday - 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM, Saturday -11:00 AM - 11:00 PM, Sunday - 5:00 PM -10:30 PM. It also offers a late afternoon Happy Hour, Monday through Saturday from 3 PM to 6 PM with unbeatable prices on wine and Thai Tapas. Emporium Thai Cuisine, 1275 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

 

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