Restaurant: Ruen Pair
Location: 5257 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027. (323) 466-0153
Date: December 9, 2014 and February 16, 2023
Rating: Solid Thai, not super spicy
It’s been awhile since I’ve had authentic Thai, so it was with some relish that I headed out with my Hedonist group to this Thai town eatery.
NV Tissot (Bénédicte et Stéphane / André et Mireille) Crémant du Jura Extra Brut. 92 points. Really liked this sparkler! Very well balanced with only a slight dosage. The blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is apparent in the “traditional” Champagne like blend that is not always the approach in the Jura. A good amount of complexity ending in a long finish of pineapple and yeast. Great QPR too.
Beef jerky. Deep fried marinated beef served with special sauce. Not nearly as good as the pork — fairly bland and chewy in fact. The beef version was WAY chewy. My jaw still hurts (JK). Go for the white meat.
2007 Domaine Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Ruchottes. IWC 93. Pale yellow. Ineffable aromas of lime, crushed stone, violet, iris and spicecake. Bright, penetrating and precise, with superb energy and purity to the high-pitched citrus, mineral and spice flavors. At once dense and racy, and in need of aging. Persistent and palate-staining on the finish. (The Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets showed lovely sweetness and generosity of texture.
2004 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese. IWC 92. Mesmerizing aromas of papaya, sweet herbs and spearmint. Intense but discreet cherry fruit rises from the mid-palate, accompanied by brilliant acidity. The riveting finish is animated and spicy. One of the finest spatleses of the vintage in Germany.
2008 Dönnhoff Schloßböckelheimer Kupfergrube Riesling Spätlese. IWC 90. Pale golden yellow. Floral aromas lift apricot and quince on the nose. The complex tropical fruit flavors are accented by a hint of licorice and a shot of slate. The subtle balance of sweetness and acidity belies this wine’s richness. Offers nice length and potential.
Coconut Chicken Soup. Chicken, mushroom, lemon grass, lime leaves, galangal and lime juice in coconut soup. A tasty soup with lots of chicken. Not nearly as good as the Jitlada “Coco Lotus Soup” but still enjoyable. This one was fairly dense and heading toward a curry, but it still had that lovely sour / lemongrass / coconut thing going.
From my cellar: 2004 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese. 92 points. COLOR-nice golden; NOSE-burnt BMX tires meets peaches, apricots & pears; spritzy; TASTE-beautiful bluestone; gorgeous dried Apricots; viscous & oily; gorgeous peach juice; very polished; great, great wine; very delicate; nice floral aspects; subtle cactus juice & on the finish; a concoction of Cantaloupe & dandelion dancing on the back-end; very complex; great balance of acidity & fruit; great structure; absolute elegance at it’s finest.
Fried catfish. Catfish slices that have been deep fried crispy and are served in this vinegary sauce. The sauce did a great job complementing the fry. Besides the need to avoid bones, this was a delicious dish.
Spicy Combinations Salad. Chinese sausages, dried shrimp, salted cabbage, salted egg and black egg mixed with onion, chili and lime juice. Love both the Chinese Sausage and the “black” (1000 year old) egg.
2006 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel. JG 95. Faint spritz on opening, clear rich botrytis, lovely texture, so full and rich, but balances with a spike of acid on the finish, good now but will blossom in time.
agavin: my favorite with the food. rich, amber, and sweet!
A different Pad Thai.
2012 Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir. IWC 87. Bright palish red. Slightly diffuse aromas of strawberry, raspberry, underbrush and smoky oak, perked up by mint and floral nuances. A bit juicier and more delineated in the mouth than the nose suggests but shows only moderate intensity and depth. Finishes slightly tart, with dusty tannins.
Egg Salad. Not sure where the salad is, but this odd dish was delicious. Basically, it’s fried eggs with chilis on top. But the vinegary hot tang of the chilies is fabulous with the soft centered eggs.
From my cellar: 2003 Louis Latour Corton-Clos de la Vigne au Saint. Burghound 91. A huge step up in elegance, complexity and purity with extremely pretty spicy red pinot fruit aromas that introduce supple, sweet and opulent flavors that remain precise and beautifully well balanced. An altogether lovely wine that combines power and elegance with first class cellar potential.
2012 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 40th Anniversary. 89 points. Large-scaled and rich on the nose with toasty brioche, blackberry, currant and milk chocolate. On the palate, velvety textures ushered in dark fruits, spice, coco, licorice and cherry liquor. The finish was long with saturating black fruits and a linger hint of hard candy.
Beef Panaang curry. Your typical bamboo shoot red curry with beef. Certainly a pleasant dish, particularly with rice. This is on the thin mild end of the Panaang spectrum. I really like mine more intense.
2005 Kay Brothers Shiraz Hillside Amery Vineyards. 89 points. Inky dark, with hints of smoke and cedar on the nose. Black currants and blackberries are prominent on the palate, but the secondary characteristics are still caught in a tannic grip.
2008 Carlisle Syrah James Berry Vineyard. IWC 93. Opaque violet. Stunning bouquet displays dark berry liqueur, incense, dried violet and smoked meat. Tight on entry, then expansive and sweet in the middle, with noteworthy pliancy and sweetness to the dark fruit, violet pastille, apricot, mineral and spice flavors. Lots going on here-and highly expressive today, even if the firm, dusty tannins call for patience.
Roasted Duck Curry. Roasted duck with pineapple, tomatoes, red curry paste and chili in coconut milk. Good flavor but not much duck and a lot of pineapple. Always a winner, with a nice rich curry and a certain sweetness. There could have been more duck though.
Yellow Curry with Chicken. Chicken with yellow curry and potato in coconut milk. Very pleasant if basic yellow curry.
Chicken Panang. Chicken with peanut curry paste and chili in coconut milk. Felt more like a straight up red curry than a panang (which has peanut paste in it) and wasn’t spicy or “exotic” at all — but it did have a great curry flavor.
1986 Château Raymond-Lafon. Parker 92. It is hard to believe this wine will eclipse the great 1983, but the differences in the two wines are negligible. I do not believe the 1986 makes quite the impact on the palate that the huge, massive 1983 does, but there is a great deal of botrytis, and a profound, penetrating fragrance of sauteed pineapple, vanillin, toast, and honeyed peaches. In the mouth, the wine is more streamlined than the 1983, but lusciously rich and full bodied, with very good acidity and a creamy, intense finish. It will be interesting to compare the 1983 and 1986 as they evolve. My guess is that the 1986 will age faster.
agavin: sadly our bottle wasn’t well stored and this had an off-putting bitter finish.
Papaya salad with blue crab. This was a standout. The salad was the same, but the blue crab is raw, like the Korean crab at Soban. You suck out the toothpaste-like meat. Yum!
Overall, Ruen Pair is good, but it’s very “rustic”, not particularly refined, and they don’t the full variety of possible Thai dishes. What they make is very solid, sort of like a better (if still sloppy) neighborhood Thai — and it’s not highly “dumbed down” or anything. But it’s just not super tuned up either. They don’t take reservations and are mobbed.
A grid of goodies.