Eclectic Wines And Thai Food Classics At Silver Lake's Same Same
Fourteen years ago, cousins Katy Noochla-or and Annie Daniel opened a small Thai restaurant along a quickly changing stretch of Sunset Boulevard in east Silver Lake. The two have a deep history in kitchens, stretching back about as far as the L.A. Thai food scene itself. Noochla-or's parents opened Chao Krung (one of the city's first Thai restaurants) along Hollywood Boulevard in 1976, and watched as the neighborhood around them evolved into Thai Town.
When the two opened their own restaurant, Rambutan, in 2003, they would watch the evolution of yet another neighborhood: this time Silver Lake. Rambutan would find a loyal neighborhood fan-base over the years (as did the duo's other restaurants: Tuk Tuk on Pico, and Chadaka in Burbank). Then, in 2016, following Noochla-or's move to open Chao Krung Thai along Fairfax, Daniel teamed up with Last Word Hospitality (of downtown's Brack Shop Tavern) to reinvent the restaurant and give it a new name.
"I wanted something new," Daniel told LAist during a recent visit. "Something to attract a new generation of guests." And so, in April 2016, Same Same was born.
The new collaboration brought a wine and beer bar to the restaurant, and updated the interiors to look like a postcard version of Bangkok painted in saturated hues. There is, of course, the requisite bottles of Singha, Chang, and Beer Lao to order, but the more adventurous can try a coconut porter from Maui Brewing Company, or a passion fruit wit from Avery Brewing Company. The wine list also includes standard grapes like chardonnay (Chahalem from Oregon's Willamette Valley) and merlot (Chateau Couronneau from France's Bordeaux region), but also offers funkier finds like Txakolina (a sparkling white wine from grapes grown in Spain's Basque Country).
Same Same's food menu is, well, very much the same as regulars of Rambutan would like it.
"I'm from Bangkok," Daniel continued to LAist, "which is a mix of all the different regions of Thailand. So, our menu takes dishes from Isaan, the south—all over, really."
Try the apple salad for a spicy yet fresh dish to start with. The pad see ew is an umami-rich bowl of rice noodles with a sweet under-flavor. The khao pad sai krok (sausage fried rice) is the perfect late-night food (or, bar accomplice in this case) with sweet Thai sausage and plenty of egg. For a more traditional plate of protein, the Khao Soi serves up flavorful chicken drumsticks with egg noodles, yellow and green curries, and chili oil. And for your sweet-tooth? The coconut flan is not overly-saccharine, and a slight crunch from the coconut-flake base adds a nice compliment of texture to the flan.
In recent years, Same Same has welcomed Thai food neighbors like Night + Market Song and the forthcoming Isaan Classic (along with Burmese food specialists Daw Yee Myanmar Corner right next door). The stretch of Sunset that Same Same has stood on for almost a decade and a half is now emerging as a hub for a new generation of Thai and Southeast Asian kitchens. Daniel has even hinted at expanding the Same Same brand to a second location in Playa Vista. But for all change, the spirit in the kitchen remains largely the same, serving up favorites to locals night after night without showing signs of slowing down.
Same Same is located at 2835 West Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. (213) 273-8424. Hours run daily from 5 p.m. to midnight.