Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thai Tapas and Circus Rock

I love Union Square. In a way, I'm glad the Green Line doesn't go there yet, because it still feels a bit like a hidden nightlife gem. There are plenty of great places to go, eat bar food, catch some good music, and not wait in lines or pay obnoxious covers. Joel's band, the Somerville Symphony Orkestar, was playing at PA's Lounge on Friday night - their last show of 2010 (and their very first show in Somerville). Despite their name, they've been gigging for about a year and a half in Cambridge, Boston, and even Providence...but never Somerville.

After loading in the equipment, we decided to grab dinner at one of our favorite Union Square spots, Ronnarong, a tiny Thai place where you can get tapas-style small plates (called gup gla-em, Thai for 'drinking food') and/or full-sized entrees. The restaurant is named for the chef (Ronnarong, or Ronnie) whose attention to detail is noticeable even when it comes to the physical menu, a hefty but lovely piece of art with a three-dimensional elephant on the cover. 

When deciding on a drink, I was initially conflicted: I was freezing and in the mood for hot tea, but Ronnarong's sake-based cocktails are extraordinary. Fortunately, I could have it both ways: I noticed something called 'Thai hot toddy' on the menu, a comforting concoction of black pu-erh tea, sake, and some other ingredients. Ginger was in there too, I think. Joel and I absolutely loved this drink, and I'd highly recommend trying it on a chilly winter night.

We each started with Spicy Thai soup, and I really appreciated that when I ordered mine without mushrooms, they came back to ask me if it was ok that there were mushrooms in one of the other dishes we had ordered.

Spicy Thai Soup: hot and sour broth with shrimp, mushrooms, lemongrass, and lime leaf ($5)
For the meal, we split four small plates. With the tea, two soups, and complimentary shrimp chips, it was a perfect amount of food.

We always get the Asian broccoli, a perfect vegetable side dish to add a somewhat healthy touch to the meal.
Stir-fried Asian Broccoli - sauteed with oyster sauce ($6)
The Tasty Pork BBQ - a simple, light dish - lives up to its name.

Tasty Pork BBQ - roasted pork with spicy sauce, onions, and cucumber ($7)
Thai rolls - standard but good.

Thai Rolls - crispy rolls (chicken OR vegetable) ($6)
 Our favorite: the Paradise Beef. Get this no matter what (unless you're a vegetarian).

Paradise Beef - ancient recipe, marinated then dried, deep fried upon order ($6.50)
We've been fully pleased with every visit to Ronnarong: excellent, friendly service, great food and drinks, and very fair prices.

After dinner, we headed back to PA's Lounge for the show. Stroamata opened with a lovely set (think soundscapes somewhere between rock and techno with dreamy vocals floating on top), and Joel's band was up next. First, I shot some photos...



Dave plays the "trumpbone"
...and then I became Rachelephant!

Mighty Tiny closed the show. We've seen them a bunch of times; they consistently put on a ridiculously fun, intense show that can best be described as "circus rock". Creepy masks, interesting instrumentation, little bits of marionette-like choreography - awesome.

In summary:
  • Explore Union Square.
  • Get the Paradise Beef and Thai Hot Toddy at Ronnarong.
  • Support local music: check out Stroamata, Somerville Symphony Orkestar, and Mighty Tiny.
Ronnarong on Urbanspoon

Ronnarong Thai Tapas Bar


  1. I haven't been to Ronnarong yet, but I will certainly try that Paradise Beef when I go! I live in Harvard Square so it's fairly easy for me to get there, yest I always put if off. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. I've heard a lot of great things about Ronnarong but haven't been there yet. It sounds like a wonderful evening!

  3. Ronnarong looks excellent. I would love a Thai Hot Toddy right about now.

  4. We're very happy you had a good experience at Ronnarong and hope you'll be back! We appreciate the write-up.

    If anyone is on Facebook we would appreciate it if you 'liked' our page:

    Be sure to come by on our monthly Thai Tapas Friday event-- you get a free plate of tapas with every beverage ordered (of comparable value.)

  5. ERR-- that should be Thai Tapas Tuesday. (that's what I get for posting in a rush.)


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