Clad in a red cap and a white uniform, Siam First’s Chef Derm traces the surface of ginger root, lemongrass, and a chili pepper, expounding upon their health benefits on TV Diner. Ginger root is good for heartburn, and chili pepper helps digestion, he remarks, before showing his Thai twist on a New England favorite—Maine lobster.
Beneath Siam First’s gabled roof, Chef Derm and his team crank out Thai specialties that mingle local ingredients such as Maine lobster with spices and herbs imported directly from the land of smiles. Below small, hanging lights and glowing wall sconces, tables populate with duck and snapper in thai basil, mango curry, and garlic-ginger sauces. While noshing on dumplings or crab rangoon, guests can peek into Siam's giant aquarium, rife with fish, green plants, and Jacques Cousteau’s long-lost car keys.
If the food at Sala Cafe tastes particularly authentic, that’s because it is. Preparing fresh sushi alongside Thai curries, the chefs at Sala Cafe have years of experience cooking Thai food in the U.S. as well as at the family’s restaurant in Thailand. Fresh ingredients make their way into every stir-fry and rice dish, including seafood teriyaki and volcano chicken. Expertly prepared sushi rolls, including the Dance with Shrimp roll and the Savannah Snapper roll, continue to serve up the restaurant’s fresh flavors.
Siam Square packs its eclectic menu with stir-fried and sautéed dishes drawn from various regions of Thailand. Super spicy tom-yum soup flavors a chicken or shrimp broth with thai herbs for a hot, welcome break from Campbell’s congressman-shaped chicken-noodle soup ($3.25). Crushed peanuts rub elbows with tofu, eggs, and meats at the pad thai's rice-noodle pad ($7.50/lunch, $8.95/dinner), and hot basil fried rice fills barren stomachs with ground chicken, peppers, and other fresh veggies ($7.50/lunch, $8.95/dinner). Vegetarian options abound at Siam Square, as sweet-and-sour veggies such as zucchini, carrots, and baby corn seamlessly synthesize with tofu ($9.50).
With recipes that call to mind the towering spires of the Khmer Empire’s antique capital, the chef at Angkor Restaurant recreates modern Cambodia’s favorite dishes. Nam yaa, the restaurant's most popular dish, is also known as medicine soup for the restorative qualities of its lemongrass, ginger, and garlic and the tradition of serving it in a tiny childproof bottle. Distinct Cambodian sauces, such as tamarind and spicy garlic, douse crispy fish, and peanut sauce tops banh hoi, whose steamed noodles are accompanied by lettuce and mint.
Red curry, green curry, mango curry—at Pakarang Restaurant, who's celebrating their 20th anniversary this year— the kitchen crafts nine different fragrant curries in varying levels of heat, in which chicken, beef, or seafood simmer. Specialty dishes include the bangkok beef and crispy duck. All the cuisine is artfully made, matching the casual yet modern, underwater-themed decor that includes dark-stained wood floors and mottled walls.
As one of the oldest cosmetology schools in the area, the Salon Schools Group has been churning out highly trained manicure mavens, visage revolutionaries, and overall bodily beautifiers for nearly eight decades. Drop by any location and let one of the up-and-coming cosmetologists stage a performance of their freshly honed skills under the supervision of an expert instructor before they matriculate to some of the finest salons in the area. Services, which vary by school location, include a cranberry bog facial from Westerville's spa menu, which cleanses and heals the skin with antioxidants and essential oils and, like any fruitful spelunking expedition, concludes with a shampoo and blow dry ($32.50). Heath's salon menu offers deluxe haircuts with a blow dry and curling-iron style ($9–$11) and cap highlights ($29–$30). Liberate upper lips and eyebrows from the tyranny of excess fuzz with a wax from Canal Winchester's spa offerings ($7 each), or sharpen your claws with the full set of sculptured nails offered on Karl Road's salon menu ($20). There are a slew of equally indulgent treatments at all seven locations. Go in for a marathon glam session before the office prom, or spread out services over multiple visits.