Otus Thai Kitchen & Coffee: A Writerly Cafe with Legit Food
I love writing in cafes, but it’s always a trade-off: places with ample plug-ins, good wi-fi and comfortable seating never have food that makes you want to eat there–until Otus Thai Kitchen & Coffee arrived.
For many years, Kinaree occupied the space, which is next to the Ralph’s at La Brea and Fountain. The food was fine, but it was the kind of place you went to because you didn’t feel like driving to Thai Town. A fire changed all that. Kat Von D’s adjacent tattoo parlor burst into flames, closing Kinaree and an adjacent barber shop. Seven months later, Otus Thai Kitchen & Coffee arose, phoenix-like, from the ashes. While the friendly owner is the same, everything else has changed, and for the better: a beautiful, light-filled interior with a number of outlets and free wi-fi (there’s also a dog-friendly back patio for outdoor lovers); Intelligentsia coffee and real baristas; and most important, exciting food.
The very first thing I ate here was their green curry, which comes with long beans, eggplant, bamboo shoots and roti, a flaky bread that is common in its various incarnations to India and southeast Asia. It’s extremely flavorful–dunking the roti in it is heavenly–and while there are several meat options, I recommend trying it with tofu. I know what you’re thinking: “I hate tofu.” I don’t generally consider myself a fan of tofu either, but I am a fan of Otus Thai Kitchen & Coffee’s tofu.
They also do a yellow curry that is a twist on the traditional version, substituting sweet potatoes for regular potatoes, resulting in a healthier and more flavorful combination. Other favorites of mine include Ga-Prao, which is ground chicken with chili and basil–I like to accessorize it with long beans and a fried egg on top (the owner’s suggestion and the featured image above); Ms. Dang’s Crispy Rice on Fire, a unique dish which combines crispy rice with soured pork, green onions and lots of fresh herbs, using large lettuce leaves as the delivery system. Among their breakfast dishes (which you can get at lunchtime as well) are a Thai omelette and Kai-Kata, an egg dish with ground chicken, green onions and sweet sausage. All in all, while you’ll certainly recognize certain Thai favorites, there’s a spirit of innovation here that makes it a great place to be a regular.
There’s also plenty to drink, with those aesthetically pleasing coffee drinks that are the trademark of good baristas, plus teas and even wine and beer. Servers are super friendly. On weekdays they open at 6:30 AM with a short break from 4:00-6:00 PM, while on weekends they open at 9 AM until the daily 10:00 PM closing. There’s a small parking lot in the back, but there’s also plentiful street parking–just read the signage.
Bottom line: while there may be many cafes where you can get your write on (or whatever work you need to do) and have good coffee or a nice environment, when it comes to bringing some serious food to your table while you create, I can’t think of another place in town that does what Otus Thai Kitchen & Coffee does.
Otus Thai Kitchen & Coffee
1253 N. La Brea Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90038