The main vein of the Westside’s Thai scene, which basically runs down Lincoln and east across Culver City, provides many diamonds among both the shady and shiny, with the shaggier often cooking better food. Two new Thai restaurants have captured our attention in Mar Vista and they sit practically across the street from one another, on one side typically make-shift, and the other quite well-considered. Let’s take a look.
Culver Café opened in what was once the last old school Taco Bell location we remember. The old brick façade is still there, while the Mar Vista (not Culver) spot now sports a Jinky’s-style sign and serves Thai food. The grub sounds equally fun and confused with Thai standards alongside some variations like bacon-wrapped grilled shrimp and “Bangkok burritos” with ground meat and mint leaves among the “burrito paper.” There is a Noodle Noveau menu with yakisoba, spaghetti and Thai meatballs, and Vietnamese-style Saigon Noll. Other menu sections involve “Cali curries” and “Rock and Rolls,” which include spicy tuna sushi and noodle-stuffed pork picnic rolls. There are also a wide variety of main dishes that pair Chinese and Japanese dishes along Thai, plus seven veggie vegan dishes and desserts. Most dishes hover around eight dollars with a seven dollar lunch special and thirteen dollar dinner. Culver calls its café cuisine “Thai CalAzian” and offers its eats seven days a week from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. 13223 Washington Blvd. Mar Vista. 310-827-2777.
Just a jump across and a block or two west on Washington, Thai Beer always had an average name and average-looking space, but inspired eats. The restaurant was replaced by Celadon Thai Kitchen in early December and now looks like it could sit on LaCienega’s restaurant row, if there were a version for midgets. The space is lit like a gallery or boutique sneaker store in Tokyo, with glowing white walls bearing a tiny army of statuettes. We aren’t the only ones who noticed the transformation, as today The Daily Dish reports on Celadon, letting us know that it will not be fusing their Thai with outside influences but sticking to tradition and authenticity with the expertise of one of the owners of Pink Pepper in Hollywood. We’ll have to see if the food has improved or weakened, though a quick visit with the grumpus behind the counter counting his Washingtons already makes us miss Thai Beer a little bit, whether or not they excelled at restaurant-naming or interior design. 13364 Washington Blvd. Mar Vista. 310-823-8100.