When it first opened, Night + Market fast became my favorite restaurant in the city. Spicy as hell food, new dishes you've never had before at your local Thai spot, and it was a really chill place to have some beers and chat with friends. The menu was 1 sheet of paper with a max of 10 items. Each own having their own distinct and delicious flavor.
Unfortunately, things have changed over time. More chairs and tables have been added to the dining room (even though Kris took over his parent's Talesai space), and most of the waitstaff has changed. The menu has also quadrupled in size, with more than 30 different dishes on the menu, in addition to some old favorites from the Talesai days.
I joined a friend this evening to reminisce and grab beers and grub. He is a pescatarian, so I was left to my own devices, which can be dangerous.
First up, the Party Wings. When Kris, the head chef and owner, put these on the menu, they were crazy good and spicy. This time, even though I asked the waitress to make everything very spicy, the wings were more sweet than anything else (not even salty, which means they aren't using as much fish sauce anymore). Still delicious, but that kick was missing.
DishRanker Hot Wings Score: +1
For my friend, we ordered the Seafood Pad Thai off the Talesai menu. I think N+M makes one of the best pad thais in the city, and this was no exception. Filled with shrimp and crab, this one hit the spot - when does pad thai not?
DishRanker Pad Thai Score: +2
My favorite dish at N+M is the Nam Khao Tod, a crispy rice salad with soured pork, raw ginger, onion, peanuts, cilantro, and chile. We got the pork on the side. This delivers every time, and finally, we got some heat. There used to be fresh green and red thai chili peppers in the salad, but now it looks like they've moved over to dry spices - hmmm. The pork is perfection in this salad, and is very necessary, but they do make it vegetarian upon request.
DishRanker Salad Score: +2
Wanting to try something new, I asked the waitress for a suggestion and she went with the Neua Yaang Kaolee, grilled "korean style" short ribs with nam jim seafood and steamed rice.
What was brought to our table was nothing like the description. There was no seafood, and definitely no rice. The meat was ok, but nothing crazy. Kind of chewy as grilled short ribs usually are, but there was no special thai spice or twist. Don't know why the waitress recommended this dish, but the dipping sauce brought with the dish was really fantastic though.
DishRanker Steak Score: -1
Last dish of the night was really just for fun, and to try something very new. So I went with the Larb Lanna - chiang rai style larb earthy northern style larb of hand-chopped pork, pork liver, pork blood, and a dry spice mix "hand-carried back from the motherland by Chef Kris". I got some sticky rice to go with it.
After you get over the idea of eating pork blood, this dish was okay. Nothing crazy - again, missing that spice and kick to it all, and it was pretty dry. Every bit needed that sticky rice to add some tangy flavor. Not really a necessary dish to order, but sure why not.
DishRanker Larb Lanna Score: +1
Overall, this was, by far, my most disappointing visit to Night + Market, and it makes me really sad. I don't know if this is on my list of go-to's anymore, but I still want to try the Silverlake location. Very excited about Pok Pok preview next week - look out for that one!