Cuisine: Northern Thai
The bottom line: Cozy atmosphere and tasty food that is worth the wait
I live pretty close to Little Sorrow and another Thai restaurant (it’s what I do, I move close to Thai restaurant, not on purpose, I think). I first heard of this little restaurant while looking for Thai food nearby. I read the reviews online and filed it away for reference. Later that same month I went to a foodie event through Meetup and heard people raving about it. I then made it my mission to try it. Unfortunately my first try was a no go as I attempted to go on a Friday and it’s hard to get a table. The restaurant does not take reservations and does not even have a phone number listed on their website. You have to show up and ask for your name to be put on the list and then you are told a time (and you won’t have much of a choice but to wait). They also have a limit of max 4 people per reservation. This did not deter me and two weeks later I was there again and this time managed to snag a spot for me and two other friends. We had to wait two hours, but we just hung out at my place and proceeded to talk about how hungry we were the whole time. For those that do not have the convenience of waiting at a nearby home, there are plenty of bars on that street to while away the hours in eager anticipation of yummy thai food.
Was the wait worth it? Of course. Little Serrow specializes in Northern thai food and it is served family style from a set menu. This is not for everyone of course. It’s a hard restaurant to take picky eaters and those with food restrictions. For everyone else it’s definitely worth it. I must also mention that the hostess and waiters were very attentive and made sure that everyone knew this. As well as asking if we could handle spicy food. Like real spicy food, not pretend spicy food (If you have ever asked for spicy and have been let down, then you will know what I mean).
The first thing I noticed when I walked into the restaurant was the hostess stand and then their azure/turquoise walls and low lighting. The style of the restaurant seems to be that of another era. Their technology is hidden in drawers and their waiters dress in clothing reminiscent of the 50s. At least that was my impression. There are some tables by the wall and sitting at their expansive bar section in the middle of the restaurant. The perfect place to get a peek of the kitchen in the back which was full of action the whole time we were there.
On the menu that night were seven dishes plus a small dessert bite that was not listed on the menu. They also had beer, wine, cider, a lemongrass drink, and another non alcoholic drink (milk based, if I recall correctly) available.
We started with the nam prik num which was a pasted made with finger chilies, shallots, pla ra (fermented fish seasoning). The paste was scooped up pork rinds or with the fresh vegetables that they provide throughout the meal.
Next up was the khanom jin naam aya which had catfish and krachai served on top of fresh noodles. The paste for this dish was delightful and full of flavor.
One of the popular dishes of the night for my little group was the muu nam tok, pig ears, rice powder and mint. I can’t recall if I have had pig ears before (but little did I know I would have pig ears twice in the same weekend – more to come on this) but this were incredibly crunchy and the sauce packed a flavorful and citrus-y punch.
The laap gai chiang mai had to be my favorite for the night, this dish consisted of ground up chicken, offal (organ meat) and lanna spices. The organ meat gave it a definite texture but the spices (and spiciness!) were the real winner for me. This dish is served with cabbage on the side to scoop up the deliciousness that is this dish. I also ate it with the sticky rice that is served throughout the meal. Speaking of sticky rice, that is my only criticism for the meal….it was a tad drier then I am used to. I still ate it.
Up next, a tofu dish! One of my food obsessions lately is tofu. I got hooked during my travels to China (more to come on that too) and haven’t been able to kick the cravings. I have been eating it up to 4 to 5 times a week. The tofu served at Little Serrow was probably the crispiest I have ever had. The dish was called tow hu thouk which consisted of the tofu, ginger, and peanuts. The sauce on this was also phenomenal. There were bean sprouts and onions and other greens topping this dish.
The next dish was the het grapao (eggplant, mushrooms, basil, topped with an egg; the eggplant with the mushroom was full of flavor just like all their other dishes
Lastly we had the si krong muu, pork ribs, mekhong whiskey, and dill. The pork ribs were incredibly smoky and soft.
Finally we reached the end of our meal and were served cute little sticky rice cubes topped with coconut cream and sesame seeds. Not too sweet and certainly not heavy. Just enough to satisfy that sweet tooth and take away any lingering spiciness from the previous dishes.
Phew that’s it. It seems like a lot of food but the portions are smell but by the end we were more than satisfied and struggling to finish the last dish. I have to I will definitely go back. From a conversation with other foodies the next night I learned that although the menu rotates they do have some mainstays on their menu. I will be keeping an eye out for their rotating menu which they publish weekly on their website. Lovely ambience, friendly staff, and outstanding food. Can’t wait to go back!