Nari is a new high end Thai restaurant located in Japantown in San Francisco. It’s been open about a month. The owner is Pim Techamuanvivit. Pim is quite a busy restauranteur these days, she also started and runs the successful Kin Khao in the financial district and is now in charge of the well regarded Nahm restaurant in Bangkok.
We ate dinner here a few weeks ago. Pim was there and we had a chance to talk with her again. She is a passionate and consummate food artist and very nice. Overall we had a great meal. It’s been quite a while since we have been to Kin Khao so it was difficult to compare the two. Here is what we ate:
Fried bites of Northern Thai head cheese. Sort of like a croquet. It was good but not the highlight of the meal.
Crispy sweetbreads done in the chicken wing style of sister restaurant Kin Khao. Very good.
Squid and pork jowl. This was one of the most delicious things we have eaten all year. The unctuous pork and tender squid paired magically with the vibrant Thai flavors.
Namprik ong. Namprik ong is a dip made with pork popular in Northern Thailand. It is typically served as a condiment for dipping rice and veggies into. The version here was made with early girl tomatoes and was served with a wide array of veggies and herbs to dip. We also ordered a side of sticky rice for dipping. It was excellent.
Mussel curry. A debut item on the menu. This dish put every other mussel curry I have had to shame. Not as soupy as some mussel curries it was redolent with satisfying and warming Thai curry flavors. This tied with the squid and pork for our favorite dish.
For dessert we ordered the dreaming of Lod Chong. Salted caramel, padam ice cream, ice for texture and salt. This was a dessert of contrasting flavors and textures: the crunchiness of the ice contrasted with the creaminess of the ice cream and the bold saltiness of the caramel contrasted with the sweetness of the ice cream. The pandam flavor was warm and satisfying. All in all it added up to a sum of more than its parts. A very elevated and deeply satisfying dessert and an excellent way to end the evening.
Corkage is $40 (ouch!). We brought a bottle of wine but saved it and instead had cocktails which were good and a couple of glasses of wine.