EXCLUSIVE: CEO Of L.A.’s Booming Thai Restaurant Chats About Street Food Cuisine

Cool vibes with Adam Weisblatt – CEO of Last Word Hospitality, operations group and partner of Same Same.

adam-weisblatt

Of all the self-proclaimed “foodie” cities in the world, you would be hard pressed to find a city as rich in culinary history and steeped in world-class cuisine options as Los Angeles. One such restaurant is Same Same, a new wine and Thai food bar that serves traditional Thai street food-style cuisine, shared plates and a host of original and unique Thai family recipes that will keep your mouthwatering and looking for seconds; not to mention, a bar and wine list that will have you coming back for more!

SEE ALSO: L.A. Hot-List: 5 Casual But Insanely Delicious Restaurants

Jetset Times had the opportunity to chat with Adam Weisblatt – CEO of Last Word Hospitality, operations group and partner of Same Same – to discuss the inspiration behind the restaurant, the booming popularity of street food-style cuisine, and why Bangkok is his dream foodie destination!

What is the inspiration behind the restaurant and how did the name come about?

Originally, my Last Word Hospitality partners and I wanted to flip Thai restaurant Rambutan and turn it into a Basque-wine bar. After spending time with the family who owned it, however, we realized we wanted to do business with them. We loved what they were doing and we wanted to bring what they offer into the current market and give it a revamp. So Rambutan became Same Same. The name, Same Same, is a play on the Thai phrase, “Same Same but different.” We’re doing something different here, but it is the same dedication to hospitality that Rambutan devotees received.

If you could describe Same Same with only three words, what would it be and why?

Spicy, Family, Party.

Spicy because peoples’ palettes have changed and now Americans are more curious to try traditional spicy flavors found in Thai cuisine. Family because we really do feel like it’s a family bar and restaurant; all the owners are involved and everyone has their own key part. We all hang out together – whether at work or during our free time. We’ve become our own little family. Party because that’s what we wanted it to be. Los Angeles has some of the best Thai food in the country, and we didn’t want to compete with the incredible concepts found in Thai town. Instead, we wanted to complement them by creating a bar environment serving Thai food.

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How would you define the influences that make Same Same’s cuisine unique?

We really rely on our chefs and cooks in the kitchen. They’re from all over Thailand, so our dishes have influence from around the country. Their various backgrounds allow us to incorporate it into the bar.

Within the last several years, street food-style cuisine has grown in popularity and seems to show little sign of slowing down. Why do you think it’s becoming so popular and how do you see the trend of street food-style cuisine moving forward?

In a big way, it’s because America and the rest of the West have really embraced the food of Central and South America where street food dominates. A huge part of this is from Anthony Bourdain and the mass media’s attention on street food around the world. People in the States really love the trend and more and more people are choosing to not eat at hotel restaurants, but instead enjoy local traditional food provided by street vendors.

For first-time visitors at Same Same, what is THE must-try dish and drink that you would highly recommend and why?

Khao Soi, which is our Coconut Curry Noodle made with a chicken drumstick, egg noodles, yellow & red curry, coconut milk, red onion, and chili oil. Americans have become more and more fascinated with noodle soups, such as pho and ramen. Khao Soi is an incredible Thai curry noodle soup that is incredibly customizable, plus that chicken drumstick is delicious.

Txakolina is a must order at Same Same. We wanted to showcase it because we love it and the way it’s served (it is poured from four feet above to aerate it). It’s a bright, acidic, white wine that complements traditional Thai cuisine, such as Khao Soi.

How would you define a good meal? 

A good meal comes down to every element of the experience. At a good meal, you feel welcomed and are dining with friends and family – people you love. You’re eating food that is not only delicious, but has a sense of nostalgia so you feel an emotional connection to whatever it is you’re eating. Lastly, alcohol helps to loosen everyone up and have fun with it.

If you could fly anywhere in the world and organize your dream menu for one day of good eats, which cities would you fly to and what would you order for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Bangkok of course! For breakfast, I’d have boat noodles, for lunch I’d have Pod Ka Prow, and dinner would be BBQ chicken with a papaya salad. And I’d pair all of the above with Chang beer.

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The line-up 🍺🍷🍺

A post shared by Same Same // But Different (@samesamethai) on

How has traveling influenced you as a person?

Traveling gives you a glimpse of the world that people in your surrounding community don’t usually see. It leads to a desire to see things differently, and for me it gave me an addiction in seeing how people in other countries live. It gives you a true sense of humility when you see what you take for granted in everyday life that other people don’t have, such as a warm bed, running water, etc. Also, the more you travel, the more you realize how little you know about the world, but you gain so much context each time you travel. It not only helps you understand the world, but also your own community because you have things to compare it to.

What does being a jetsetter mean to you?

It means you prioritize travel. You put off buying a new pair of shoes to get on a plane and get away. Whether that means you get a second job, forego getting a new apartment, or having a crazy bachelor party, you prioritize traveling. It helps you value experiences over possessions.

Photos: Adam Weisblatt

What do you think of this story? Share with us in the comments.

Jerry Alonzo Leon

Contributor

Jerry's favorite country to travel to is Spain. When he's on the road, he keeps it real simple with a pen and a pad. His travel style is spontaneous, easygoing, and always in search of a great adventure.

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