Best Thai’s founder and chef, Booney, possesses Thai cooking skills that are a little bit highbrow, a little bit homegrown. Her first culinary experiences took place in the family kitchen, where her father passed down the recipes and cooking styles he had learned from his own parents. She soon refined those skills in the kitchens of the five-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel. With this two-pronged approach, she devises menus—which vary by restaurant location—brimming with pad thai, pineapple fried rice, and panang curries swimming with meat and veggies.
Water gurgling down glass walls and a golden dragon etched into the host's stand hint at the exotic origins of Thai Spice Cuisine's menu items. From colorful, heat-packed curries to sesame-miso salmon stacked atop a bed of fresh greens, each dish is a work of art, meant to be appreciated for its beauty before being eaten or autographed by Jeff Koons. However, the menu still makes room for less high-minded treats: the cinnamon-sugar banana spring rolls harks back to the classic banana split with drizzles of caramel sauce and a solitary cherry accompanying its dollop of vanilla ice cream.
Chow Asian Street Food whisks diners down the bustling pavement of China, Thailand, and Japan with authentic home-cooked dishes such as savory soups, noodles, curries, and fried rice. With a cornucopia of comfort fare at their fingertips, guests can fill fingers with grippable morsels such as crispy straws with shrimp and cream cheese ($5) or fresh crab-and-avocado spring rolls ($7). A steaming bowl of tom kha soup with chicken and a coconut milk ($4.25) runs across tongues with calming comfort akin to licking grandma’s favorite quilt, and red curry with chicken, beef, or tofu relaxes an overwhelming need for flavorful spices ($10.50). Guests can twirl fork tines in eight different pan-fried noodle plates, including pad thai ($8.90) and chow mein ($8.90), or quiet hunger with the crispy catfish gently massaged with chili powder ($15).