Chef Pim Techamuanvivit created Nari (Thai for “woman”) in tribute to the generations of women that inspired her. When two food influencers I respect both mentioned Nari SF as one of their top takeout meals of the pandemic, I knew I had to place an order. And wow were they right. Four months into the Bay Area stay-at-home order, and my Nari experience places solidly in the top two quarantine meals.
Prior to Nari, Chef Pim established Kin Khao and is the executive chef at Nahm Bangkok (both Michelin-starred). I first dined at Kin Khao and Nahm coincidentally in 2017, and before Chef Pim was at Nahm. While I enjoyed my experience at the fancier Nahm, there was something about the unapologetic and creative dishes at Kin Khao that resonated more. And Nari feels like an even more confident Kin Khao.
My takeout last week thoroughly lived up to my lofty expectations. Fresh California summer produce melded with bold Thai flavors. From the comforting and tangy tom khlong chicken soup, to the fresh sweetness of peak season ambrosia melon, every bite was a joy.
My favorite was the wok-tossed Jimmy Nardello peppers and corn. The texture contrast of the sweet pepper with the bursts of even sweeter corn were heavenly with the XO-sauce.
The watermelon salad was lovely with bright notes from the fresh shiso and mint, and the soy-lime dressing. The crispy shallots, toasty coconut, and candied trout crisps added to the flavor explosion.
The two mains of nam jim jaew moo (pork steak) and gaeng golek gai (crispy chicken thighs) packed the most intensity and were meant to be eaten with the jasmine rice. I loved the boldness of the spicy, smoky, tangy, and salty flavors.
The dessert of ambrosia melon sticky rice was the finale in the showcase of seasonal produce. The sticky rice had wonderful depth of flavor from the leaves it was steamed in. The salty & sweet coconut cream and the sesame crunch topping just reinforced the magnificent symphony of flavors and textures that was each course.
Assembly was minimal, with some simple garnishes or pouring sauce. The meal was served hot, so no re-heating needed if eaten right away. The family-style portion was just right for two with a bit leftover. A fantastic meal and highly recommended. Nari’s weekly changing menu (vegetarian option available) can be pre-ordered via Tock.