After eight years, Nittaya Parawong’s eponymous Secret Kitchen isn’t much of a secret anymore. It’s a restaurant I should frequent more often (especially for her World-Famous Spinach Salad), but its central-Summerlin location is just far enough out of the way to be a hassle. So, when I heard her new Block 9 Thai Street Eats would open at Town Center and the 215, I got pretty excited.
Interestingly, Block 9 is less a new restaurant than a quick-service Secret Kitchen. The menu draws heavily from the original’s, which makes sense considering its proven success. Selections are packaged and portioned in a manner befitting the more casual concept, with serving dishes craftily doubling as to-go container bases.
Parawong still delivers the depth of flavors for which she’s known. The benign-sounding Thai stalwart basil chicken ($11) blends stir-fry chicken with basil—and a fried egg on top—to deliver big flavors. So do grilled pork skewers ($11), whose smoky meatiness is offset by a sharp tamarind chili sauce, and complexly spiced beef jerky ($8), which is sinewy but far from offensive.
If anything, the menu might actually be too approachable. Even dishes denoted as spicy don’t deliver a ton of heat, so if you’re feeling feisty, make sure to ask for a condiment caddy with ground chili powder, prik dong (chilies in vinegar) and nam prik pao chili paste. Even without tweaking, panang beef curry ($11) is nuanced, balancing hints of heat with sweet coconut milk. Drunken noodles ($11) deliver similar spice in a multilayered base, more successfully than the run-of-the-mill pad see iew ($11) with nary a hint of wok-inspired smoke.
What about Block 9’s version of Parawong’s World-Famous Spinach Salad ($8)? Instead of being served with chicken larb, it’s paired only with lime-laden vinaigrette. Individually battered spinach leaves remain tasty, but this rendition might just stay west-Valley famous.
Block 9 Thai Street Eats 10595 Discovery Drive #5, 702-331-1088. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.