The other night my friend, Mario, took me to a new Thai restaurant, The Rustic Spoon in Universal City. He’s been telling me about it since it opened last month. He’s usually pretty good at finding new restaurants. This time he outdid himself. I was fighting off a cold and was resistant to going out at first. Fortunately I got over my resistance.
I love Thai food, but many times the Thai restaurants in LA and New York do not always offer the best quality food or the best atmosphere. The Rustic Spoon has both. A little café style eatery on Lankershim Blvd, not far from Universal Studios, it truly is heaven. The atmosphere is a very clean modern casual chic with an understated Zen feeling, unusual for this type of restaurant. The individual glass teapots are a great example of its simple, thoughtful elegance put into each detail. They offer a diverse assortment of teas. This time I had the lavender tea, which really helped rid of me of my sniffles and run down state,
Now for the really important part: the food. The tuna tartar appetizer was one of the best I’ve ever had, finely diced and served on crisp wontons. The menu is an assortment of Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian dishes. The Pho filet mignon soup is very light and loaded with natural flavor, not MSG. The Pad Thai and the Pad See Ew are very traditional, also filled with flavor, not oil and MSG. The presentation of each dish is thoughtful, everything is beautifully arranged. Each plate that came out of the kitchen caught my eye as it went to its table, every one an eye watering delight to behold.
Several items that caught my eye as they came out of the kitchen are the Chicken Pho Soup, the Flash Fried Ahi Tuna Salad and the Sea Bass with wasabi noodles & green beans. I plan to have them the next time I’m there. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of Indian food, so I’m going to need some guidance in trying those items.
What’s really appealing is that the portions are big, the prices are small (mostly about $8-$10), and the quality and the service are four star. There is a small parking lot in the rear, easy street parking and valet parking for only $2.50.
Eid, the owner, makes everything herself. She came to LA from Bangkok in 1998. Her cooking mentors were her mother, her grandmother and her aunt, who owns a restaurant in Bangkok. Her husband, San oversees the dining area. Everyone speaks perfect English so nothing is ever lost in translation.
When you are in Universal City, do yourself a favor and check out The Rustic Spoon, open for lunch and dinner, a simple cure for the Recession Blues or anything that ails you.
The Rustic Spoon, 4384 Lankershim Blvd, Universal City, CA 91602, (8188) 754-8998.