Voted Best Thai restaurant in 2009 and Best Restaurant for a First Date in 2008 by Creative Loafing, Spoon boasts a menu that is simple yet playful. Chef Aim Suteeluxnaporn, who runs Spoon with her sister Sujaree, adds spicy twists to authentic Thai mainstays such as chicken satay ($8), pad thai ($8 lunch, $9 dinner), and red curry with eggplant and zucchini ($11 for dinner), serving them as works of edible art presented on inedible plate-frames. Like the new Butterfinger candy bar, noodles, curry dishes, stir-fries, and seafood can be prepared medium spicy, hot, or Thai hot. The eatery's specialty entrees include the golden red snapper ($17) topped with a light ginger sauce and toasted sesame seeds. All entrees can be specially prepared with either tofu or vegetables to accommodate vegetarians.
Within the cozy confines of Thai & Sushi's scarlet-walled eatery, taste buds can surf the fusion of flavors surging through a menu teeming with traditional Thai dishes and Japanese-style sushi platters. Tuna, salmon, shrimp, crab, and masago snuggle in a blanket of avocado and soy nori bedded down in the pineapple-slathered Hawaiian roll ($11.95). Olympic-medaled vegetable rolls lithely springboard from a platform of cucumber, avocado, asparagus, inari, and shiitake mushrooms into awaiting mouth caverns ($8) and pad thai chicken roosts in a spicy nest of rice noodles ($9.75). The sweet aroma of fresh ginger mingles with the sizzling serenade of chicken, beef, or pork and a garden-torn quartet of onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and expatriated lawn gnomes ($9.95).
Modifying menu items has irritated servers for centuries, directly leading to the Colfax Riot of 1873, the Attica Prison Riot of 1971, and the decline of R & B music. Today’s Groupon avoids world-altering events by letting you orchestrate your own orders: $10 gets you $25 worth of food and drink at The Real Chow Baby, Atlanta’s first and only create-your-own-stir-fry restaurant. Chow Baby is believed to be impervious to the harm of the natural world and all human weaponry, but rumors exist of a Nap Baby, born at the exact same moment and radiating concentric circles of pure, narcoleptic calm. Perhaps, if they are one day reunited, this madness will finally end. Until then, color-coded Chow Baby alert levels hold steady at fuschia: wary.
Locally sourced produce and meats mingle with imported Thai spices on Surin's hefty menu, which considerately calls out spicy dishes with 0–3 chili-pepper symbols. Embark on an epicurean adventure to Southeast Asia with a helping of fancy Thai sausages ($6.50) or a suitcase filled with the tender beef fillets and spices of the nuer nom tok ($9.50), served with crisp cabbage leaves for wrapping. Shrimp and asparagus offer companionship to the star crustaceans of the soft-shell crab dish ($18), and egg, broccoli, and garlic exhibit their friendliness by offering to french-braid the flat noodles of the pad see-u entree ($10.50). Chefs can whip up Thai curries in three levels of spiciness, the highest of which comes with its own tongue-cooling ice sculpture melted into a water glass.
Owned and operated by siblings, Noodle serves up pan-Asian cuisine aside fun cocktails and sleek décor. A veritable cross-continental culinary campaign, the menu blends flavors of Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand, but eschews that oft-ignored middle child of Eurasia, Stupidistand. Commence your journey with the rolls and dumplings sampler, a mini smorgasbord of curry rolls, shrimp-basil rolls, and spring rolls plus veggie or pork dumplings ($12). For the main course, sink incisors into entrees such as tender chicken (or tofu), bathed in a coconut green curry sauce with potatoes, avocado, cashews, and rice ($11), or classic Thai peanut noodles with shrimp ($10). A steaming bowl of Pho Nam soup brims with thin beef and meatballs, rice noodles, onion, and Thai basil with a side of bean sprouts, cilantro, lime, and jalapeños for dressing ($8–$9). Ample portions ensure that you have leftovers to take home to feed the marmot militia that trains in your basement.
At first, Tin Drum Asia Café's rapid service and bright decor evoke the aromatic street stands of Hong Kong, where founder Steven Chan ate throughout his childhood. The traditional ambiance is no accident—the franchise's name also harks back to a bygone era, when a tin drummer would awaken citizens and regale them with current events as they ate the day’s first meal. The electronic kiosks dotting the café, however, plunk this traditional scene in the middle of a cyberpunk setting. They allow patrons to customize their orders based on taste preferences and nutritional content, accommodating dietary endeavors such as vegetarianism and weight-loss goals.
This merger of technology and urban convention reflects a penchant for edgy ideas that also affects the menu. Items inspired by the culinary techniques of Japan, China, Vietnam, and Thailand share space in the savory catalog, taking the form of street tacos, soups, and mango chicken, a take on the general tso's staple that's sweeter than a syrup-soaked army helmet. Music is the final ingredient that charges the atmosphere. Nation's Restaurant News reports that it typically plays at an energizing 120 beats per minute and was a factor in attracting the café's initial college crowds.