Style meets substance and sustenance in L.A.'s hottest urban revival. Dig in and dish.
By Laurel Delp
Go East: No self-respecting Hollywood hipster is ignorant when it comes to ethnic food, and knowing the best of eastern Hollywood's Thai Town and Little Armenia restaurants is a point of pride. The truth is there are many, many more ethnic groups but the Thais and the Armenians still have the corner on good restaurants. You're probably not going to see any sitcom stars here (though you could), but this is still as hip as Hollywood gets.
Palms Thai is actually a small nightclub where you can catch Thai pop groups and, if you're lucky, L.A.'s very own Thai Elvis impersonator and it does a pretty good lunch business even without the entertainment. Somehow the food works. I figure any place you can get a really good green papaya salad or red curry is worth multiple visits, and if you're a real aficionado, you can try some fairly exotic dishes (like wild boar curry or pepper-garlic frog) by asking to see the other menu. Most everything here is under $10.
Little Armenia's restaurants are generally Middle Eastern via Lebanon. Carousel, down the street from Palms Thai, has excellent food, but zero ambience. I like the tried-and-true Marouch to the south on Santa Monica Boulevard, where the decor tends toward the Mediterranean sunny yellow, with a hearth behind the bar. The kabobs are succulent and spicy, but I often order a mix of the meze, or appetizers grape leaves, tabbouleh, baba ghanoush, falafel, and hummus, only $11.50, and half usually comes home with me. Marouch also makes a fantastic barbecued chicken with a creamy garlic sauce that will turn you into a social pariah for days.
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