Just next door to Talesai on Sunset Boulevard, owner Kris Yenbamroong is busily assembling communal tables, hanging art and installing a bar for his new venture, Night Market. Set to soft-open on Thursday, "Night Market's menu won't be anything like Talesai's," says the young chef. Along with a large selection of craft brews and wine, he'll be giving an upmarket spin to the street foods that many say offer the most delicious tastes in Thailand.
The stars aligned for the new project earlier this year when Yenbamroong acquired the vacant space adjacent to Talesai. The opening menu will include Chiang Mai-style sausages, fried chicken wings with northern-style chile dip nam prik noom, and pork toro -- grilled pig's collar with jaew, an Isaan (eastern Thai) condiment. Yenbamroong says he used to scour Bangkok's open markets and street stalls while living there as a teenager. "I would ride scooter taxis home after school and I'd get tips by questioning the drivers who eat all over and know the best vendors and cooks."
Thai night markets are where itinerant specialty chefs can shine, offering a single item that they've perfected with years of practice and feeding everyone from housewives and laborers to clubgoers. Yenbamroong is perhaps hoping to attract the latter at some point. The restaurant's limited opening hours are Thursday to Sunday, 6 p.m. to midnight, but eventually may be extended to at least 2 a.m.
9041 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood (enter through Talesai, at 9043 Sunset), (310) 275-9724, www.talesai.com.
-– Linda Burum
Photo: Thai sausages. Credit: Talesai