Nothing works up an appetite like a full day of perusing and shopping around the Americana in Glendale. While it’s surrounded by some great, albeit overly crowded restaurants, I wanted to try something new and away from the commotion of large families and tourists. Only a couple of blocks away is Kozy Korner, a Thai restaurant that embodies its name with its tiny interior.
Located on Wilson Avenue, right next to Hyatt Place, it is one of the smallest eateries I’ve ever dined in, seating a maximum of 20 people. It could not be more intimate, which left us feeling a bit guilty walking in 45 minutes before their closing time counting only four other people already dining when we arrived. It served as a perfectly quiet place to enjoy dinner on a rainy evening. There is not much parking in the surrounding area, but we were lucky to squeeze into one of the metered spots right outside the hotel.
We looked through the extensive menu quickly, and since we couldn’t decide on what to start with, ordered the “Kozy combination” ($12.50), which is a large platter of various appetizers on their menu: shrimp tempura, blanket shrimp, fried wontons, vegetable tempura, and egg rolls. Although a hasty decision, it ended up being the best one (other than going to Kozy Korner in the first place).
I have to admit that upon first being seated I wasn’t sure it would be anything out of the ordinary — but at first bite into the vegetable tempura I was quickly proven wrong as it was easily the best out of the fried goodness in front of us. You can’t really go wrong with tempura in general, but at Kozy Korner the veggies are breaded in a coating much thicker and crispier than any either of us had tried. The wontons were great as well, thin, crunchy and amazing dipped in their sweet and sour sauce. We expected to take at least half of the appetizer home and much to our surprise, ended up eating almost all of it, including the complimentary side salad our waitress brought over.
I ordered the Thai iced coffee ($3.75) which was served over crushed ice and just the right amount of sweet. It was probably not the smartest drink to order after 8 p.m., but I did not regret it. After deciding on our entrees, several parties came in one by one, and we no longer felt guilty nor rushed by our waitress like we did when we first walked in. The small space suddenly became crowded, yet somehow didn’t feel cramped or overwhelming, even though most tables were taken. What is clear from an abundance of amazing Yelp reviews and evident to regulars who frequent Kozy Korner (whose photos are featured along the restaurant’s walls) is the pleasantly surprising fact that their size has not been a hindrance in all of the years they have been open. Rather, it gives Kozy Korner a unique charm that generic chain restaurants in the area just don’t have.
For our entrees, we decided on the Pad Kee Mao ($9.50) and the Chicken with Basil Leaves over Rice ($10.95) both labeled as spicy on the menu. Anything marked with the chili can be ordered spicy, medium, or mild, so I went with medium. Better safe than sorry, right? The pad kee mao is a pan fried flat noodle with chili, onion, bell pepper and basil leaves. In between gulps of water to help quell the fiery chili in the dish, I enjoyed every bite. The noodles were not too greasy or heavy, but were served in such a large portion I did have to take some home. All noodle dishes can be ordered with chicken, pork, tofu, or for an upcharge: beef, shrimp, squid or duck. My friend’s chicken over rice was equally delicious. The stir fried ground chicken was more flavorful, mixed seamlessly into the rice, and was served in just as large of a portion.
Other traditional dishes featured on their menu and well-worth trying include pad Thai ($9.50), lad-nah ($9.50), Thai curry with roasted duck ($11.50), and fried rice ($9.50). Soups are also a big portion of their menu, ranging from Tom Yum Kai (a spicy broth soup with chicken, lemongrass, lime juice, mushrooms and tomatoes $5.50-$9.50), tom kha seafood (coconut soup with seafood galanga and lime juice $15.50), and a tofu combination soup (ground chicken, fish balls and shrimp $13.50). Many of their dishes can even be ordered a la carte with a choice of chicken, pork, or tofu allowing for a variety of shareable entrees.
Despite the late dinner rush while we were there, the service was quick and our waitress, who seemed to be the only one going from table to table, was informative and attentive. I left dinner stuffed and content with a long list of dishes I need to try on my next visit. Kozy Korner is feel-good, authentic Thai cuisine that provides a cozy (no surprise there) dining experience with even better food — a perfect combination for the coming months.