Elvis had left the building – or rather, the Elvis impersonator was long gone from the Palms Thai stage in East Hollywood, having returned to his native Thailand. At lunchtime during the holiday break, the stage was empty, as were the majority of tables in the large cavernous dining room. The Singha three-liter beer towers clustered at the end of the bar, waiting for the evening, while the bartender made small talk with the other employees to keep himself busy. The strongest drink being served during the daylight hours was, oddly enough, Ovaltine, the classic malted milk beverage.
If you come early, there’s no entertainment, but from 11am to 5pm, Palms Thai offers $7.49 lunch specials. The specials are broken down into stir fried, curries and pan fried (noodles or rice) with your choice of protein – chicken, beef, pork, steamed tofu, fried tofu or shrimp (which will cost you an extra $1). The menu proudly proclaims at the top “ALL WHITE MEAT CHICKEN,” which may be great for some people, though I’d take dark meat any day.
There’s no soup or salad accompanying the lunch specials. If you choose one of the stir fried dishes, you’ll get a couple of fried wonton, but the deep fried delights won’t be with your curry nor pan fried noodles/rice. Steamed rice comes with all, except for the pan fried noodles and rice (obviously).
The curries are marked by a chili pepper, so you can select your level of spiciness from mild, medium, spicy and very spicy. I have a low threshold for spiciness and chose medium for my red curry. The curry was made with coconut milk, bamboo shoots, basil, red bell pepper and chicken.
The medium was surprisingly mild, even for me. The curry sauce, while good, would have definitely benefited from an extra punch from some Thai chiles.
My husband’s medium spicy green curry with steamed tofu was even more subtle in flavor. The green curry, which was also made with coconut milk, bamboo shoots, basil and red bell pepper, needed a bit more kick to bring it to its full glory – especially since he likes his food spicy.
My daughter, ever the picky eater, had chow mein with vegetables and chicken. By some miracle, she said the broccoli was good, and gobbled the green florets down along with the noodles, without any prompting. That was a win.
Perhaps I was expecting too much being in Thai Town, as the curries weren’t any better than the ones we get at our local Thai hole-in-the wall. Maybe I should have explored deeper into the menu and ordered the deep-fried catfish in curry paste or the fish with chili and holy basil (though the Wild Things menu, with such exotic fare as frog with green peppercorn or spicy chicken feet salad, would have pushed me way beyond my comfort zone). If you visit, don’t be shy and order your dishes spicy or very spicy and perhaps one of those Singha beer towers (which holds about 12 beers) if you’re with a large party. Elvis, if he were still alive and dining with you, would thank you very much.
Location – 5900 Hollywood Blvd., Ste. B, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Website – http://www.palmsthai.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Friendly – Yes