The delicate silk hangings and handmade wood accents at Bangkok Village effervesce with authentic Thai ambiance alongside an extensive menu of vegetarian and meat dishes. A sautéed slice of spicy chicken, beef, or pork sporting a basil overcoat struts across sweet bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and hot peppers($9.99); cashew chicken shows its sweeter side with peanuts, pineapple, and sweet pepper ($9.99). In the Star Delight, a mélange of snow peas, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and fresh bean sprouts lure herbivores with a homemade sauce and whispered promises of birthday pony rides ($8.99). Lightly seasoned bean-thread noodles wrap around your choice of protein or tofu ($9.99), shrimp ($11.99), or seafood ($11.99) in the Transparent Delight, which features a medley of stir-fried baby corn, bean sprouts, peapods, mushrooms, onions, sweet pepper, and egg.
At Baisi Thai—whose fusion menu melds Japanese and southeast Asian fare—the staff takes presentation seriously. Sushi chefs decorate rolls such as the Rainbow Dragon, Green Turtle, and Caterpillar to look like their namesakes, with caviar eyes and vegetable horns. Bartenders fill cocktail glasses with neon-green Baistinis and other mixed drinks and, in the kitchen, curried noodles collide with stir-fried veggies and traditional Thai basil. The airy, spacious eatery, located at the Oakbrook Center mall, is striped with translucent space dividers, and avenues of thin, vertical reeds sway between orange columns and UN delegates researching models for international flavor cooperation.
There must have been considerable coordination between the head chef and interior decorator at Montri Thai; the walls vary in color from red and green to lemon yellow––a fitting homage to the kitchen's use of red, green, and yellow curries in its traditional Thai recipes. Artistic plating of braided noodles garnished with wisps of green chives parallels the dining room's floral bouquets, and intricate sauce designs succeed in making the plates hungry for themselves. A full wall of floor-to-ceiling windows and blue neon lights illuminate the bright ginger and orange notes in beef, chicken, and tofu dishes. An elephant motif drives the sophisticated Eastern vibe home with bronze statues, framed photographs, and loud stomps resonating from the peanut room.
To Yes Asia Cafe owners Nancy and Tiger Huynh, their business in America is the end of a long journey that began with their families' attempts to escape to the US from Vietnam. Despite multiple tries each year, Nancy's family was always turned back. "There were scary moments," she writes on the café's website, "and I'm glad it's over." Tiger's family was luckier, drifting into a safe harbor after seven days in a tiny boat.
Today at Yes Asia Cafe, both Huynhs celebrate the cuisine of their childhoods with a menu of traditional pan-Asian and Vietnamese dishes. Like a poorly calibrated compass, banh mi sandwiches fuse East and West, stuffing crusty french bread rolls with fillings such as curry chicken and cured pork. Succulent morsels of barbecue pork and grilled beef mingle with cilantro, mint, pickled veggies, and peanuts in rice and noodle bowls. And an impressive drink menu cleanses palates with jasmine teas and jackfruit smoothies.
Inside Dao Sushi and Thai Restaurant, eyes drink up the sumptuous interior design as taste buds sample Thai flavors and homemade miso sauce. Patrons take refreshing sips of sake or specialty drinks while perched at the sushi bar or sprawled comfortably in half-moon booths. Noodles and vegetable slivers trail from appetizers served in martini glasses, like the protein drinks James Bond downs before chasing down Goldfinger's private airplane on foot.
Sesame Inn’s mouth-watering menu whisks guests on culinary journeys through China, Japan, and Thailand. Seventeen stir-fried dishes, including spicy sichuan green beans and kung pao chicken with crunchy peanuts and water chestnuts, spring from traditional Chinese recipes like gold nuggets spring from fortune cookies. Chefs tuck chicken, beef, or shrimp into beds of pineapple fried rice or pad thai’s nest of egg-laced rice noodles. If diners prefer their entrees uncooked, the Kama Kaze maki showcases two types of tuna, and the vegetable maki arrives rolled with spinach, cucumber, gourd, pickles, and asparagus.