Friday, July 11, 2008

Chan Dara

There's about to be a new contributer to this here blog, so I better write one more post before he gets a chance to show me up with his actual writing skills. And, for a change, this won't be about a Mexican restaurant.

I haven't been able to surmise (actually, I just haven't spent that much time looking) if the Chan Dara on Pico Blvd. is related to any of the other Chan Dara(e)s around the city, such as the House of Chan Dara on Larchmont or the Chan Darae on Cahuenga (I can tell you that it is better than the one on Cahuenga, though; that one was quite disappointing). This post is already so full of words Blogger isn't accepting as real--a sign of a good post, I'd say.
First, the decor of this place is a little overwhelming. There are more than enough colors and textures and shapes and sizes, et cetera. My dining companion hated these hanging orbs, but they were the only thing I thought to be at least slightly innovative. They do have a pleasant assortment of vegetation on the left side, if you are facing away from the street, although you can only see it through glass. Perhaps someone familiar with Thai culture could tell me if that neon squiggle means anything or if it is just a particular Thai affinity towards them--I have seen several other Thai restaurants with similar, if not exactly the same, squiggles.
I ordered the Ginger and Black Mushrooms Stir Fry with Scallops, but you can order it with chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu, as well. Surprisingly, a good number of scallops come with the dish and they were perfectly cooked. Additionally, the vegetables were crisp for a great textural contrast to the plump scallops. The dish comes with one egg roll and either white or brown rice. I got the brown rice, once again for the texture contrast. The sauce that comes with it is sweet and is most likely for the egg roll but also works well with the gingery scallops. As all Thai food seems to be in LA, the prices are a little expensive--this was $12.50.
The menu just says Black Mushroom, so I don't know if that's what it is called or if that is just what it is, 'cause it's true--that mushroom is pretty black. It is also terrifyingly weird looking. And, yet, it is delicious--once you get over the decidedly awkward texture.
They call the Vegetarian Pad Thai "Poor Man Noodles." This dish was fabulously colorful, as you can see by the above picture, and also a great combination of textures. There could have been more of the noodles and less of the carrots, however.

None food details: the waitresses (and they are all waitresses) seem to be required to wear really tall heels and awkwardly almost revealing clothing. The food comes pretty quickly, but they are slow to refill your water!

Chan Dara
11940 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
310 | 479 4461

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