I had an early walk-in dinner at Nari.
Started dinner with a cocktail, the
bai toey ($15)
coconut rum, yellow chartreuse, pandan overproof rum, lime cordial
Which had a single large ice cube and tasted a bit like a Southeast Asian gimlet with the coconut and pandan. “Bai toey” is Thai for “pandan” (thanks Google).
And then a few dishes off of the “first course” section.
gaeng gradang tod ($16)
pork croquettes seasoned with northern curry paste, served with ajad pickles & chrytanthemum greens
Nice crispy porky bites. The interior of the croquettes was a tender pork curry filling, nicely spiced and with a little heat. It came with some vinegary pickled daikon, cucumber and carrot and some herbal tasting chrysanthemum leaves.
squid & pork jowl ($25)
grilled Monterey squid in chili-lime dressing with sweet & succulent pork jowl, topped with peanuts & cilantro. served with sticky rice
This was great! Zingy salty sour sauce. The pork was meltingly tender and fatty with a deeply caramelized sweet exterior. The squid was cooked well too but the pork bites were the star of this dish for me. It came with some sticky rice that I used to make porky rice balls.
saeng wah ($26)
lightly poached prawns in tamarind, lemongrass, & chili over crispy catfish cereal
Shrimp poached just a touch over raw, with a strong bold zingy tamarind sauce. This was served over crunchy deep fried catfish “cereal” that tasted like crushed catfish flavored chicharrones. Quite nice.
For dessert I had the interestingly named
dreaming of lod chong ($14)
pandan parfait, salted coconut cream, scented salt, ice
I looked up lod chong and found that it is the Thai name for cendol, a dessert that has coconut milk, rice flour noodles, and palm sugar. This was a delicious dessert. Both savory and sweet, and refreshing with the crushed ice diluting the strong flavors a bit. The cube of pandan parfait had the consistency of a thick ice cream with the aromatic vanilla like flavor of pandan.
A very enjoyable meal. Everything was quite good with strong flavors. For me the highlights were the squid and pork jowl and the “dreaming of lod chong” dessert.