So I’m in the valley, Burbank actually, or is it North Hollywood? Depends on who you are talking to. LA native? Valley native? You’re from Hollywood? Oh, not from Hollywood? So you’re technically from the Valley, but you live in Hollywood, got it. Do the Hills start at Cahuenga? No? They start at Mulholland? You grew up in Studio City? At your mom's place? Oh, more like your mom...
Ahhhhh, so like I said, I’m in the Valley…
After arriving at the shockingly efficient Burbank airport, I stopped for a late dinner at The Rustic Spoon. If Burbank, North Hollywood and Universal City were circles on a Venn diagram, The Rustic Spoon is located where those circles meet. The Spoon is a small restaurant (we’re friends now, so I can call it the less formal “Spoon”), serving what the owners describe as "Thai fusion", though, I would describe it as more of a California Thai, since the menu is light and uncomplicated.
The server was not thrilled when we showed up minutes before the kitchen closed and after about five minutes, we were the only people there. In an effort to be low maintenance customers, we ordered quickly and started taking pictures. Sensing the possibility of free press, the hospitality increased immediately.
Since it was a late dinner, we ordered light and started with the Green Papaya Salad, served with spiced lime dressing, bean sprouts, plum tomatoes, whole cashews, and grilled shrimp.
My Achilles heel-- an allergy to all things shellfish, crustaceans, bivalves, mollusks and the like-- forced me to eat the parts of the salad without shrimp. Though the papaya was fresh and the whole cashews added some extra flavor, the salad was pretty underwhelming and I imagine tastes much better with the shrimp.
Next we shared the Seared Tuna Salad. The tuna was lightly coated in sesame seeds, flash fried and served on top of mixed greens with a sesame soy vinaigrette.
The menu was full of traditional Thai dishes, Tom Kah soup, drunken noodles, pad Thai, and a Panang curry served with Japanese pumpkin, which looked delicious, but we decided to stop with the tuna.
At first, the drink menu looked like something they serve at an upscale Asian fusion restaurant, like Sushi Samba or something. But when I looked more closely, I realized that alcohol wasn’t a listed ingredient in any of the drink recipes and the Spoon is a dry restaurant. Despite the lack of booze, a few drinks looked interesting, including the “Bloody Lychee,”with pomegranate juice, fresh lychee and sparkling water, the less impressive, “Tangy Mint,” orange juice and muddled mint, and the real reason to go to The Rustic Spoon, the “Rose Mojito.”
Prepared with rose syrup, fresh mint, lime juice and sparkling water and garnished with dried baby roses and salt, the rose mojito is light and floral without being perfumey. It was so refreshing that I would drive back to the valley, or near there, to get another one.
THE RUSTIC SPOON
4384 Lankershim Boulevard
*Sarah works in film production in sunny Los Angeles. After being away in Europe for five months, she is pretty much obsessed with burritos, sushi and Kogi at The Alibi Room in Culver City.