Earlier this month, Jeff and I hosted a friend from Chicago and wanted to show him one of our classic LA weekends. Amidst shopping at the Promenade and drinks at Alibi Room, we snuck up to Hollywoodland for Improv comedy and Thai food. Jeff did some research and found Hoy-Ka Thai to be amongst the highest rated Thai restaurants in LA. We went for it.
Joined by a few of our favorite friends, we journeyed from UCB Franklin's comedy club to Hoy-Ka on Sunset. A perfect array of outings if you want a one-parking-spot-fits-all evening. The brisk walk down Bronson was the perfect precursor to our far east feast.
Located at the corner of North Bronson Ave, Hoy-Ka is a glowing beacon of taste in the small Thai Town district. We waited about 10 minutes for our high table to be made and were greeted and served by one of the sweetest servers I have met in the city.
I felt like a little kid in a candy shop, legs dangling off the high wooden bench and pouring over the menu of thai delicacies. We laughed and chatted about what we should get, taking turns to swap stories about our various Hollywood escapades.
My best friend Loee and I share a love for crab wontons and opted to get some of those for the table. The boys decided on getting the Fried Meat Balls per Joel's strong suggestion. I also ordered a Thai iced coffee. Alas! It was on the menu!
Hoy-Ka offers the BEST crab puffs I have ever had. I'm not certain how much everyone loved the Meat balls but it was definitely a fun choice to try. The iced coffee was delicious and had more of a sweet spice flavor.
Next came our diverse entrees. Naturally, I had to go with the classic yellow curry (for comparison purposes) while Jeff choose Pad See with beef . Chris stepped back into the cultural food world with Pad Thai while Loee, Joel and Derick got Stir Fried Noodles, Custom Chicken with Veggies, and Hoy-Kay Noodles .
The key part about ordering at Hoy-Ka is the spicy scale. We were all given the range of 1 - 10 and asked to rate our preference for spice from weak to strong. Most of us went with 2 (daring I know but it had heat) while Jeff was persuaded to try 2.5 - surely a mere step spicier.
When our food arrived we dove in straight away. Although Hoy-Ka's curry is more soupy than I have had - it's flavor is on par with my favorite Thai restaurant in Santa Monica (post coming soon). The curry was phenomenal and I am still deciding if it eclipses my dear SM spot in flavor and texture.
Derick wasn't the biggest fan of his traditional Hoy-Ka Noodles (a dish Hoy-Ka is known for) as it left him wanting more in terms of flavor. The spicy-ness just wasn't there.
Everyone else seemed to be loving their food, but when Jeff started to enjoy his he realized the .5 increase really packs a punch. Don't worry though - we sweated it out together.
Our server was kind enough to bring us all a taste of the house puddings which definitely helped quench the few burning pallets. I will never say no to free desserts. It was a clever way to keep us happy and sharing despite the spiceness of dinner.
Our server also brought us custom spoons with our checks. These might be the best bill pens I have ever seen. Jeffrey was given a spoon that perfectly captured his dining experience.
I have to say that even though the food was delicious, the experience of Hoy-Ka was what really made the evening. Our server made trying out new dishes and flavors just down right fun. I loved the atmosphere and the service, everything was brought out promptly and we were never left waiting for anything. The staff laughed and played with us, and we thoroughly enjoyed our entire dinner.
I have to agree that Hoy-Ka is amongst the best Thai I have had in LA so far and definitely worth the trip to the strip. I give it an 8.75 out of 10.
Stay tuned for more Thai tastings and check out UCB's 5 dollar comedy nights!
~ A ~