Name of restaurant: The Hungry Pig.
Chef-owner: Eiddy Pennson, a petite Thai woman who owned Quickie Thai, which she operated in the Hungry Pig space for 10 years before closing. She also owns the Rustic Spoon, a Thai restaurant in Toluca Lake. Pennson, who says her grandmother used to barbecue chicken in front of Quickie Thai, decided to give American BBQ a shot instead. "I just love it, it's in my blood," says Pennson, who adds that she's had great barbecue in Nashville and Michigan but hasn't had any formal training and didn't grow up eating the stuff.
Concept: A barbecue joint where you can order meats by the pound and make a mess, with a couple of Thai dishes thrown in. There's pulled pork, BBQ chicken, pulled brisket, chicken satay, pork and beef ribs, pork belly with fried shallots and tri tip. There's also baked beans with shredded cheese on top and yellow curry potatoes.
The decor is minimal, but there's a big, gold piggy bank next to the cash register.
What dish represents the restaurant, and why? The pulled pork sandwich with curried potatoes, spicy slaw and a side of cornbread. You may have never in your wildest dreams put this mix of flavors together, but it works. The spicy slaw is a pink concoction of cabbage and greens in a kimchi dressing. It's the perfect mix of Pennson's love of BBQ and her years cooking traditional Thai. The pulled pork is slathered with Pennson's homemade sauce, a traditional tomato-based sauce with a hint of sugar and a kick. (Along with ketchup and sambal oelek chile sauce, a bottle of it also sits on each table.)
Who's at the next table? A family with two small children, a couple on a date and a steady stream of people picking up to-go orders.
Appropriate for: Everyone.
Uh-oh...: There's no beer to wash down that rack of ribs. The restaurant will get its beer and wine license soon.
Service: Very friendly. Pennson herself will often come out and serve tables.
What are you drinking? Water flavored with watermelon and citrus, or soda.
Info: 2920 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, (213) 387-7787.
The Scouting Report is a quick look at restaurants worth a visit. Scouts were selected by restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, who may or may not agree with a single word.
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