As noted in the Mee Sen thread, a Thai food loving friend was in town and so we hit some places he hadn't been. First up was WSL, which I hadn't been to yet.
Walked in and Ricker was there to welcome us. He noted the pig ears were on special. Unfortunately, I've had pig ears with my friend before and he didn't like the texture.
Getting there early, the interior felt very uncrowded, much less so than the original WSL, where the tables are a bit close. Maybe when you have a bunch of people standing, waiting for their table at Pok Pok, it would feel more crowded.
We got a bunch of items: dried and fried beef, fried pork ribs, chicken gizzards, frog legs, 5 spice chitterlings, and hot & sour soup, plus an iced tea and drinking vinegar.
I didn't eat in bars often in Thailand, but when I did, this is exactly the type of thing I expected, except with a much spicier dipping sauce than WSL's (which wasn't mild). The beef tastes of lemongrass and lime leaf. It's dried before being fried, slightly chewy and very beefy. This was my favorite item. In Thailand, though, the dipping sauce would be so spicy your teeth would throb. That's not the type of authenticity my GI tract needs, however.
The riblets were my least favorite item. For one, they're just not a good value. There's very little meat on them and there aren't that many for nearly eight bucks. Further, these were dry and a little chewy. Same dipping sauce as the dried and fried beef.
The gizzards were fine. Very simple. Gizzards have always been my favorite chicken giblet, though. They're in a tempura batter and served with a sweet chile sauce. Torn on the batter. It's a little heavier and not as crisp as I would like. I never had anything tempura battered in Thailand or SE Asia, but I mostly ate fried things on the street.
Not sure exactly what they do to make the frog legs, but these were excellent. The meat is very tender and juicy, plus have a lot of flavor. Tasted like more than just garlic (see menu) to me. They're also tempura battered. I just feel like the tempura gets in the way as much as anything. Maybe if it was a really light, almost transparent, tempura batter that was very crisp I'd like it better. The frog legs were so good themselves, though, that it didn't matter as much.
The 5 spice chitterlings were darn tasty. Sweet and aromatic, crisp, with the occasional layer of fatty meat.
Hot and sour soup was the favorite dish for both of us, though. Bright and fiery with a good variety of tender pork offal. My friend did mistake a piece of galangal for potato which turned him off to the soup at first, but once he started eating it again, he had a hard time stopping.
I appreciate the approach. It's a bar and the food is bar food. Not being a drinker, I'll probably only hit it when I'm waiting for Pok Pok. It's just too snacky overall to ever go there for a meal with my wife.