Thai and Vietnamese cuisines come together in tasty harmony at Malai Kitchen in the trendy West Village. Cozy circular booths and subtle Asian accents like rattan lighting fixtures outfit a sleek dining room, or – when the weather permits – guests can opt for a table on the sidewalk patio. The menu, most of which can be prepared gluten-free, offers a mix of fresh, flavorful Thai and Vietnamese favorites like tom kha gai, a coconut soup loaded with chicken, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms; beef pho, served with rare slices of meat; and shrimp pad Thai. Chef-driven dishes such as seared scallops with tamarind sauce or ahi tuna tartare spiked with Thai chili round out the flavorful menu. An array of appetizers like chili-garlic glazed chicken wings and crunchy fried imperial rolls make ideal snacks at the U-shaped bar, especially when paired with one of the carefully crafted cocktails like the Vietnamese Limeade.
Calling themselves "three Thais and a white guy," Naga Thai Kitchen's quartet of founders imparts creative, contemporary influences to traditional Thai cuisine. Flowers and dramatic, modern design elements spangle the dining room, interrupting orange walls with cutouts, staggered wood panels, and hanging fringes. When they're not plucking ripe lychee martinis off the branches of the bar, patrons select dishes from a menu of curries, stir-fried noodles, and chef's selection seafood plates.
Though its cuisine is Thai and Japanese, Zenna borrows from Spanish culture in the presentation of many of its dishes. The restaurant serves hot and cold tapas. The small, shareable plates range from sashimi seaweed salad to fried dumplings and chicken lettuce wraps. The menu also features curries and noodles, along with sushi. Elegant touches are seen throughout Zenna’s Dallas and Plano locations, which are set aglow by colorful light fixtures or decorated with ornate wall décor pieces.
The menus at Meddlesome Moth gastropub are just as eclectic as the stained-glass cathedral windows of pop culture icons behind the bar. Executive chef David McMillan relies on international elements to create such dishes as mussels simmered in French, Spanish, and Thai ingredients, along with fried hominy, tandoori lamb, bangers and mash, and pork belly with figs. Small plates heavily populate the menu to encourage communal dining and beer pairing, but the chef also designs his own gourmet versions of classic pub and brasserie fare, including pilsner-battered fish and chips and blue-cheese-topped steak frites. Co-owner and resident beer expert Keith Schlabs ensures that each menu listing includes its complementary brew, and also organizes themed beer flights to demonstrate which ales are the most aerodynamic. He curates a selection of more than 40 draft beers and 85 bottles, including rare cask ales. Once diners have decided, servers parade the dishes and their chosen pairings out on the covered outdoor patio or through a dining room that D Magazine describes as a "funky-cozy venture."