Valentine's Day can be a test of wills, especially if you opt to suffer through another overpriced, prix fixe snoozefest. To add a little spice to your night, see if your date can take the heat--real heat--at Jitlada instead.
This Southern Thai restaurant from chef Tui Sungkamee and his bighearted sister, Jazz Singsanong, serves some of the spiciest food in the city. The devout go for plump, gigantic green-lipped mussels in bubbling, lemongrass-scented broth ($14), or khua kling phat tha lung, a seriously hot dry beef curry ($10).
New dishes like crispy deep-fried snapper fillets with dried coconut and curry sauce ($15) or a whole cooked Dungeness crab in garlic sauce ($35) don't disappoint. But for the truly adventurous, there's Sungkamee's new "Dynamite Spicy Challenge," a choose-your-own-adventure of spice.
Pick your base (spicy mint leaf or curry sauce) and protein ($16 to $40, depending on your choice), then expect to be assaulted by Thai chilies. These dishes are hotter than any others on the menu--even the signature jungle curry (pictured), which some believe to be the most lip-numbing.
Sending anything back to the kitchen is not an option, and if you clean your plate, Jazz will buy you a beer or dessert.
The place will be packed on February 14 because it's always packed, so reservations are a must.
Jitlada, 5233 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; 323-663-3104 or jitladala.com