Saturday, May 17, 2008

Westwood Thai Cafe - restaurant review

I'm a fan of Thai food, and I was in the neighborhood one day some time ago so decided to give it a try, and it has since been a place I visit periodically because I really like it.

On this particular visit, I decided on an order of the Tom Yum Kai (chicken soup flavored with mushrooms, lemon grass, chili and lime juice) as well as an order of the Thai dumplings (ground chicken and shrimp, wrapped and steamed, comes with black vinegar sauce).

The first time I decided to try Tom Yum Kai at a restaurant was because a friend had talked about how much she liked it, and from her description, it sounded like something I would like. Like with minestrone soup and hot and sour soup, each restaurant can make it with many variations, so I'm finding that some restaurants' versions of Tom Yum Kai aren't as much to my liking as others. Westwood Thai's is about the best I've had, though admittedly, I've only had it at about 3 or 4 places. The soup is plentiful in chicken, the broth has great flavor, and it has the perfect mix of chicken, mushrooms and lemon grass. Lemon grass is a discovery that I've been really happy about. This version has just about the right amount of spicyness as well, though the spicyness does grow on you as you have more of the soup, but it's not overbearing. There are chunks of cut-up green chilis in the soup, so if you avoid chewing on those, you're ok. If you want the extra spicyness though, munching on those will give you that extra kick.

The dumplings were ok, but I wasn't as impressed with them. By themselves, they didn't have much flavor, but the sauce was quite good and added a lot to making the dish taste good. I was also happy that there was a good amount of cilantro on top, and the dumplings sat on a bed of chopped cabbage, so that was a little more vegetable to have with the dish. In general, though, I don't think I liked the dish enough to order it again.

They offer a lunch special where you can pick among a list of entrees, and you also get rice and an egg roll. I've ordered that a couple of times, once with the pad thai, which I really liked and which had really good flavor.

They also have a fairly extensive regular menu with lots of things I'd be interested in trying.

It's a fairly small place, and pretty simple - no fancy decor, but the service has always been good - prompt and friendly, and they're very good about keeping your water glass filled.

The only problem is finding parking since it's located on busy Westwood Blvd. The only time I've gone is if I'm shopping at the Borders across the street because Borders has validated free parking.

Here's a link to a site about the restaurant, from which you can access the restaurant's menu.

Westwood Thai Cafe
1375 Westwood Blvd.
Westwood, CA 90024
open daily 11am to 11pm

1 comment:

adrienne said...

They have Sticky Rice with custard! The place I grew up going to had sticky rice with custard and I haven't seen it anywhere else. It was an interesting kind of custard and we loved it. Oh, I miss it. I'm glad you like Tom Yum soup! It's the very best soup ever. It's allllll about the lemongrass broth.