When he's manning the kitchen at Royal Thai, Jay Potchana's mind is far away. It drifts to an eatery near Bangkok, where his mother, Boonroam, cooked gourmet Thai cuisine. Jay recalls his mother's recipes and merges them with his own techniques, creating entrees ranging from Northern Thai barbecued chicken—charbroiled over the fire, then served with pickled vegetables—to pork tenderloin in a homemade red-curry sauce. He also picks whole red snapper from the market for a variety of fish specials. To make the fish chantaboon, he'll dredge the snapper in panko breadcrumbs and tamarind sauce, fry it to a crisp, and serve it with a tamarind salsa.
The wait staff here acts as a friendly resource. They'll dole out dinner suggestions based on your tastes, and readily adjust the spiciness of most dishes without blasting them with a fire hose. Traditional paintings and sculptures fill the dining room, which brims with warm gold and red hues.