Welcome to the Good News/Bad News on Luv2Eat, the unlikely "it" restaurant of the blogosphere serving Southern Thai classics in a Hollywood strip mall. Yelpers and bloggers alike have plenty of great things to say about the restaurant's intensely complex Phuket-style crab curry and affable service, but haven't fallen in love with the hiccups that come from newfound restaurant fame. So what's the overall word?
Chef Pla and Fern are just the sweetest: There's no denying the friendly vibes that emanate from chef duo Noree Pla and Fern Kaewtathip, making the dining experience that much more pleasurable.
"I loved the food these chefs made at Hoy-Ka, and I am SO glad that they opened their own bistro. They are super helpful with recommendations." [Yelp]
"These ladies are super friendly and cook up some really great authentic grub." [Foursquare]
"While Kaewtathip helms the kitchen, Pla usually works the front of the house, pushing her house-made desserts ranging from a custard-like cappuccino pudding to fresh durian simmered with coconut milk and sticky rice, both addictive in totally different ways." [LAW]
Order the crab curry: The must-order dish has become that Phuket-style crab curry, which delivers fiery heat and serious complexity.
"Even as that list of specials expands, it's hard to imagine besting that obsession-worthy crab curry, adapted from a recipe by Pla's mother and ladled into generous-sized soup bowls. Murky, earthy and stained with turmeric, it's a curry that hums with the power of a jet turbine and the finesse of an Apple Watch, fueled by radioactive levels of heat and subtle layers of sweet, salty and sour that creep down the back of the throat." [LAW]
"If there's an item to order at this restaurant, this specialty would be the one I would recommend. The dish included about 3 pieces of blue crab immersed in a curry paste with a spice level that rivals the intensities of curries served at Night + Market. If you like hot and rich curries which are coconut-based and flavored with lemongrass, sweet basil, garlic, and ginger, then this curry would make you feel like you are in heaven." [Yelp]
"The curry wasn't the typical sweet coconut curry. It tasted like it had a strong fish paste base, which gave it a somewhat pungent and salty flavor (in a good way)." [Yelp]
The food is hot, hot, hot: The dishes at Luv2Eat aren't for the faint of heart, and will have you desperately gulping Thai iced tea (free with Yelp check-in!) in a futile attempt at extinguishing blazing heat.
"Warning to non-Thai folk: watch the spiciness level. This establishment caters to the Thai palate which has a relatively higher tolerance for spice. So just ask for "mild" which will be plenty spicy for you." [Yelp]
"We learnt [sic] our lesson -- should have ordered "mild" version of everything." [TripAdvisor]
"One of the few thai restaurants in LA I've been to where they do not dumb down the heat for the American palate." [Yelp]
Expect to wait for your delivery: While reviews mostly attest to smooth service in the restaurant, delivery still has some major kinks to work out.
"I placed an order for delivery tonight (Friday 8:30pm). [...] An hour and a half later I was able to enjoy my dinner." [Yelp]
"After waiting over 2 hours for our food and a phone call an hour after ordering saying they were out of half of our options, we received our delivery." [Yelp]