Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"C" Means "Clean Enough" - Sapp Coffee Shop, Thai Town

Again I'm back on Hollywood Blvd. whoring for the perfect bowl of Thai Boat Noodles in Thai Town. My last 2 experiences at Yai and Red Corner Asia were satisfactory, with Yai reigning supreme over RCA. RCA really didn't do it for me.

J and I were headed to a wine tasting at Silverlake Wine and craved a bowl of noodles before we got liquored up. I was craving Thai Boat while she was in pursuit of a good bowl of roasted/bbq duck noodles. After a year of corresponding with Yoony of Immaeatchu through the food blog, we felt it was time to finally meet the young lady behind the delicious cooking. She and Santos of Meet Me At the Corner of Third & Fairfax got us hyped on this current Thai food spree.

A friend of mine recommended Sapp Coffee Shop because she knows how much i love Thai Boat Noodles. For those that haven't had this, it's almost like pho with the beef parts, but the soup is brown and much thicker. Why is it thicker? It's because authentic TBN's are made with beef and pork blood. Don't close this window just yet - it's tastier than you think. The result of incorporating blood is a nice gravy-like soup that is packed with flavor.

Sapp Coffee Shop is a favorite of young people because it's known as a diner, with rice and noodle dishes and a list of delectable Thai drinks. Although Sapp Coffee Shop is a Thai restaurant, the word 'sapp' is Laotian for 'tasty, delicious'. And rightfully so.

J, Yoony and I met at 7 pm and piled into this hole-in-wall restaurant marked with a "C". But don't mind the "C", it really means 'clean enough'. If you're a prude, ambiance-seeking eater, you probably shouldn't be frequenting Asian restaurants PERIOD. After all, Asian restaurants are all about the food. After about 10 minutes of chatting, we picked up the menu to order food. The girls both got the dry roasted duck noodles which they fell in love with at Yai. I, of course, got the TBN's. Here's what we thought.

BBQ Duck Noodles (Dry)
J and Yoony overall liked this dish at Yai more because there was duck sauce on the bottom of the bowl. The duck is served warm here, while Yai's is cold-cut style. The noodles were cooked too long - giving it a mushy texture. If you look closely at the photo, you can see the sugar UNMIXED into the dish. If there was any sauce at all, it would've dissolved the sugar. Presentation wise - Sapp Coffee Shop loses points. No one wants to see unmixed ingredients in the dish. But after they mixed up the contents of the dish, they both quietly enjoyed the noodles. $4.75

Thai Boat Noodles (kũay tĩaw reua néua thúk yàang)
As soon as I saw the server with my bowl of TBN's, I rubbed my hands together. I always do that. She set the bowl down and my eyes lit up. My nostrils enlarged. Man, this smelled so good. I didn't even have to dip my spoon into the broth to know how thick and savory it was. I could see small chunks of beef and boiled blood pieces inside the broth - a sign that this was true beef broth. I could smell soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, cilantro and green onions. Very nice. I didn't get the works which includes liver and tripe - instead I stuck with beef slices, beef balls, beef tendon and fried pork skins (chicharrones). $4.75

Thai Boat Noodles (kũay tĩaw reua néua thúk yàang)
I lifted up the noodles from the broth and noticed that the noodles stuck together. Another sign that the broth was thick - yum. If you look closely a the noodles, you can see the beef and boiled blood bits. I was going to get the beef taste in every bite. I let J and Yoony try some and they both liked it. J agreed that it was better than Yai and RCA's. I devoured this bowl in about 10 minutes and actually thought about getting another bowl. If you're into full flavored noodles, I highly recommend the TBN's here at Sapp. There are afew TBN options and Sapp doesn't mind you customizing your own bowl of beef with different beef parts. You can also choose pork instead of beef. If you want roasted/bbq duck noodles, go over to Yai, which is down the street. $5.50

Nevermind the 'C' rating here, I give Sapp Coffee Shop an 'A'. Hurry on over here, they close at 8:30 every night and rest on Wednesdays. Here is another review by a Sapp fan from the LTH Forum.

Sapp Coffee Shop
5183 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 665-1035


Garrett said...

Excellent pictures and wonderful review!

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Dang that looks good. I don't really care too much about ratings in Asian restos (unless they're sushi joints) since those ratings are based on American ideals on what clean really is. Sorry, but most Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese or Korean food has a gazillion ingredients and they don't always need to be covered w/ saran wrap or kept in the fridge. Ya think millions of good cookin' Chinese grandmas cared about that stuff? Hells no!!

rick james said...

d, nice post.

hey d, does yai specialize in noodles only? or do they offer the standard bbq/thai fare also?

TAG is right, i think there's an unwritten grading curve for Asian restaurants... doesn't really apply..

just think if everyone stopped at the sight of a "B" rating in front of chinese restaurants. we'd be stuck with P.F. Changs and Panda Express... nasty...

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Garrett, thanks for stopping by.

TAG, I could care less about restaurant ratings in ANY restaurant. The truth in the matter is that you put trust in ANY restaurant you eat at. I know from experience that even the nicest restaurants make 'mistakes'. You should watch the movie WAITING and you'll understand haha. Good insight on things that don't require saran-wrapping.

Rick James, hey man it was good to see you on Sunday. Thanks again for telling us about the show. All thai restaurants have the standard rice/noodle fare... I only like to eat noodles. No rice dishes for me in any cuisine. Oh god, PF changs and Panda's Asshole - kill me!

Pirikara said...

Ooh Boat noodles look good. Is it like Taiwanese beef noodle soup?

Kirk said...

Hey EDBM - You're slowly working yourself through Thai Town! Soon enough you'll be King of the Boat Noodle! Great photos.

Steve Wasser said...

I really need to expand my Thai repotoire, since all my exposure is from Deliv-Thai, which is really just all the standard "Heavenly Wings", "Pad See Ow", "Pad Thai", but nothing truly ethnic.

Next stop is Siloh Center, there's a great grocery store there with all the Thai ingredients you need. That was one of the few drawbacks to moving away from the East Siiiide for me, is getting the fresh kafir lime leaves I just can't find anywhere else.

cin said...

I've never seen Thai Boat Noodles in any Melbourne restaurants before. Are they called something else here or do they just not serve it, I wonder. I will definitely look harder next time.

Pirikara said...

Competitive eater Sonya Thomas is supposedly coming to town tomorrow! woohoo!

Janice said...

I just wanted to let you know that your blog is awesome. I really enjoy all your pics! I hope you can come visit mine one day!


eatdrinknbmerry said...

Pirikara, I think this dish is more in line with Vietnamese Pho. Taiwanese BNSoup uses thick chunks of beef shank to flavor the broth. ThaiBN use beef blood to flavor the broth. Don't be scared of the blood, it's awesome.

Kirk, I'm still in search of many other things in Thai Town - pad kee mow, pad see eew.

Zteve, my dad and I go to that grocery store a lot. You can find everything you need there. I believe I got my fresh pad thai noodles there when I made it that one time.

Cin, I'm sure there's a restaurant in Melbourne that has it. Asian food is everywhere!

Janice, thanks for stopping by.

elmomonster said...

So that's Thai Boat Noodles! I've heard about it so many times, yet haven't had the pleasure...mouth is now salivating!

cin said...

Ah, don't get me wrong. Asian food IS everywhere and Melbourne has some of the best Asian food than anywhere I've ever been to - except maybe Asia :-) I've just never come across TBN before. Maybe I will visit a Thai restaurant this weekend and look specifically.

Jonathan said...

yah I totally was about to close the window when I read the blood and pork and beef balls? Then you said not to so I read on... HAH sounds fun. How are the wine tastings at SLW? I just moved to a house right by there... I've been meaning to go to one

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