In a seemingly unremarkable strip-mall restaurant, three blocks south of the tourist-mobbed clusterfuck that is Hollywood and Highland, sits a hypnotizing, Phuket-style curry brimming with blue crab. Adapted from a recipe by co-owner Noree Pla's mother and ladled into generous-sized soup bowls, Luv2Eat's crab curry is murky, earthy and stained with turmeric, as wonderfully complex as it is searingly spicy. You pick apart the poached meat from the bisected crab body and toss in a few sprigs of herbs, chopped long beans and daikon pickles. The bouncy rice noodles called kanom jeen are meant to be pulled from a tangled bundle, as you would with one of those packaged mozzarella sticks, and soak up as much liquid as possible. Some assembly is required — quite a bit, actually — but if you're willing to sniff out oddball Thai cooking in the middle of Hollywood, you probably won't mind getting your fingers a little messy.
Credit: Anne Fishbein