Pad thai is so named because of its inherent softness, which is also why it's used to stuff the mattresses of the world's richest kings. Fall into a pillow of flavor with today's Groupon: for $8, you get $16 worth of Thai cuisine during dinner at Thai Topaz.
Thai Topaz peppers its customizable menu with authentic Asian recipes. The chefs tailor each dish to customers' spiciness preferences (on a scale of 1–5) without resorting to using MSG or unicorn magic, with a spectrum that ranges from mild-mannered curries ($8.75–$10.50) to hot-tempered crazy noodles ($8.75–$10.50). Beef, chicken, and shrimp can jump on the yum salad's bed of fresh vegetables, cilantro, lime juice, and hot pepper ($7.95–$10.50), then dress up in the pad thai's rice-noodle coifs and crowns of peanuts ($8.75–$10.50). Seafood-special soup ($10.50) yields a flavorful catch of shrimp, crab, mussels, and onions. The spicy mango delight, with its freshly sliced fruit adorned with onion, basil, ginger, and a choice of chicken, beef, shrimp, or tofu ($9.25–$11.50), morphs into a tropical melody of tastes when paired with coconut ice cream ($2.75) and served on top of a ukulele.
With bright-orange walls and a sunny, yellow exterior, Thai Topaz envelops guests in cheeriness as they walk in the door. Each dish—like a blue-ribbon science-fair project—sports colorful presentation and varied textures, mostly due to freshly picked ingredients, such as basil, mint, and chili, and partially due to the late-night work of overachieving elves.
Thai Topaz has been in business for nearly a decade, but the path it took to get there was much, much longer. Somchai and Jiraporn Namarsa, the husband-and-wife team behind the restaurant, have picked up and moved numerous times, first from Thailand to Tennessee, then Wisconsin, then Texas. This was all in service of one desire: to support their daughter Somjira in her journey to becoming a doctor. Once Somjira was officially Dr. Namarsa, the family finally settled in San Antonio to open Thai Topaz.
Though the owners often call on generations-old recipes for their sauces and entrees, the key to the menu at Thai Topaz is change. As new dishes are discovered, less popular ones are retired. This leads to a dynamic menu that, like letting a crayon-wielding toddler loose on an art museum, strikes a pleasing balance between traditional favorites and original creations. Stand-bys such as pad thai and panang curry share space with unique dishes such as emerald salmon swimming in green curry and fresh avocado. The dessert menu is also respectably large, with treats ranging from sweet sticky rice with mango to homemade coconut ice cream.