Hailing from Bangkok, the owners of La Basil Thai Cuisine treat guests to the flavors of their home with authentic recipes that balance fresh herbs and jasmine rice with meats and vegetables. After chopping up fragrant vegetables or preparing a sauce, chefs put together plates such as pad thai or sweet and spicy panang curry loaded with a choice of meat, tofu, vegetables, or seafood. Like the best chefs and the worst traffic directors, the kitchen staff adds their own flair to classic flavors by adding crispy salmon to fried rice or topping roast duck with sweet chili sauce.
Siam Kitchen concocts a bountiful menu of flavorful, authentic Thai cuisine culled from fresh ingredients. Customers can commence feasts with deep-fried tofu drenched in peanut sweet-and-sour sauce ($7.95) or crab angels stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in wonton skin, and topped with halos fashioned from bent chopsticks ($3.95). Rice noodles treat taste buds to stir-fried sensations in pad thai ($7.95) or sautéed succulence in lard nar ($7.95), and a roasted duck fillet ($8.95) reclines beside chinese broccoli on a luxurious rice bed. As Emerald curry ($8.95) heats up sweet peas, carrots, and bamboo shoots trundling down tongues, chopped eggplant slathered in spicy chili dark sauce ($8.95) thaws mouths frosted from kissing snowmen.
When she's not authoring her own cookbook, Chef Isabel Cruz busies herself by merging the Latin flavors of her heritage with Asian inspiration garnered from growing up in Los Angeles. Dinners begin with starters such as crispy shoestring plantains accompanied by chipotle cream ($7) before guests graduate to entrees, including the signature Buddha bowl, a pool of lemongrass, miso, and coconut milk filled with shiitaki mushrooms, veggies, noodles, and cilantro ($12 for dinner; $9.75 for lunch). Chefs marinate the sirloin steak before trimming it, like a caterer's Christmas tree, with shoestring plantains, steamed greens, and cilantro lime sauce ($20).
In World Curry's kitchen, cooks have spent the last 17 years working to perfect their curry dishes. Drawing from a store of ingredients gathered from distant nations, the team develops 13 varieties of curry, including brown curry from Japan and red Mussaman curry from northern Thailand. Patrons can also dip their utensils into the Bali beef brisket or fill water balloons with the Caribbean curry, a vegan treat that combines black beans, corn, tomatoes, and pineapple.
Pots filled with yellow, red, and green curries simmer in Ivory Thai Cuisine’s kitchen, waiting to be ladled into bowls alongside slices of chicken or tofu. The curries, a staple of Thai cuisine, arrive on tables next to plates of veggie pad thai packed with carrots, broccoli, and thin brown noodles, all of which have been doused in a special house sauce.
Thai Juan On features a menu that is chock-full of authentic Thai taste foundations, slightly altered to fit the grooves of American Thai eaters' taste buds. Kick things off with the likes of crispy noodle/mee krob ($6.95), before diving mouth-first into the rest of the menu. The dinner terrain covers more than 40 soup, noodle, rice, and entree dishes, including the magnificent noodle/mee phat num prik poa, which melds egg noodles with shrimp, scallop, calamari, and veggies ($15.95). The mermaid's dowry/pla prik lets diners sample the spicy taste of grilled sole, bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, and onions before awkwardly explaining to their parents that they're in love with a human-fish hybrid. Thai Juan On's daily lunch menu features midday palate jolts like the Crying Tiger ($9.95)—grilled beef with spicy lime sauce—and the Red Devil ($10.95), spicy beef masaman curry with potato and onion.