For Kris Yenbamroong, following in the family business was easy. Convincing his parents of his restaurant concept was not.
The 31-year-old chef grew up helping out at Talésai, the restaurant his parents have owned and operated on L.A.'s Sunset Boulevard for the last 20 years. Proving the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, Kris's father, Vilai, started the restaurant because he felt his mother made the best Thai food he had ever tasted. Which is pretty much how Kris decided to start Night+Market, located through a set of velvet curtains at the back of Talésai.
Talésai's main and most popular dishes include shrimp and lamb curries, pad thai, and something called "Shaking Beef", tastes that Kris say are familiar to Americanized palates. But over at Night+Market, hungry guests can't get enough of fried pig tail, isaan sour sausage, and Nam Kao Tod, a crispy rice salad with spicy sour pork, raw ginger, onion and peanuts (Translation: Addictive), humble dishes eaten by workers and laymen in Thailand. "This is the main issue my parents had with me opening Night+Market," says Kris. "They didn't understand why I would serve humble comfort food instead of refined dishes, but I wanted to highlight the sorts of flavors and ingredients that we grew up with."
And Kris is getting noticed for more than his cooking. Having been recently profiled in Paper Magazine's Beautiful People issue, Kris gives nod to chefs like David Chang, Rene Redzepi, April Bloomfield, and Vinny Dotolo who have all been through Night+Market. And now Marcus. Having visited with Maya after a taping of The Taste, Marcus took this video of the hot pot tom yum sour soup, a soup Marcus insists is worth searing your tongue with its spiciness:
If you're in the L.A. area, check out Night+Market, located at 9043 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069 (through the curtains of Talésai), and Kris's soon-to-open second location Song (two in Thai) in the Silverlake area.