At Kah Asian Restaurant & Lounge, Chef Vit Suttichanond blends Thai, Japanese, and Chinese flavors into pan-regional cuisine that Easy Reader News has praised for its presentation and its approachable flavor combinations. Familiar Thai curries and noodle dishes fill most of the menu, although wok-fried orders of kung pao chicken and meaty fried rice lend distinctly Chinese touches as well. The sushi chefs also breathe new life into sushi-bar staples with inventive aesthetic details, such as the crimson slivers that explode from the center of the dynamite roll.
Sconce-lit walls and exposed ceiling beams surround the dining room's gleaming wooden tables. Separated by a line of high-backed booths, the lounge area's backlit bar brims with potent spirits and a collection of bottled sakes that diners can knock over in hopes of winning an enormous stuffed animal.
The chefs at Chaba Thai Bay Grill rely on healthy, fresh herbs and fruits to flavor their dishes instead of excess oil, salt, and sugar. The menu of classic Thai cuisine includes stir-fried veggies or noodles with a choice of meat, spicy curries, and grilled seafood. Bartenders shake up tropical cocktails with colorful names such as the Emerald, the Topaz, and the Ruby, and pour beers imported from Thailand, Japan, and St. Louis. Hanging tapestries and Thai artwork decorate Chaba's warm-colored dining room, and the outdoor patio encourages post-meal lounging with its cushioned chairs and colorful flowers.
Employing exotic spices, fresh vegetables, and sweet sauces, the culinary experts at Singapore Express craft a full menu of authentic Thai cuisine including full-flavored curry and noodle entrees. Groups of two or four jumpstart palates with one or two appetizers, choosing between lighter selections such as steamed chicken dumplings and heavier subjects including deep-fried tofu and the meaning of life. Main courses vary in consistency from the broth-based chicken-coconut soup—a blend of swimming Thai herbs clinging to straw-mushroom buoys in a sea of coconut broth—to duck red curry served with steamed white rice. Table denizens can also rev up a stolid maw by imbibing signature dishes such as the Indonesian nasi lemak—a bed of rice cooked in coconut milk and crowned with chicken wings, fried fish, and a fried egg—or a spicy mint pork leg, which can be used to hold up a wobbly table.
Stylish and spacious, boraan offers a posh setting in which to enjoy its artfully prepared Thai dishes. The menu features the traditionally succulent suspects, flanked by a redolent lineup of fried rice, stir-fry, and red, green, and yellow curries. Meanwhile, the signature seafood rad nah adorns its noodles with flavorful shrimp, mussels, scallops, calamari, crab, and chinese broccoli in a garlic-bean gravy sauce ($17.99). A BYOB policy and no corkage fee, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options, ensure that boraan not only meets all culinary expectations but also extends them a handshake and a collectible business card.
For the casual observer passing Tuk Tuk, it might seem as though there has been an accident. The front of a tuk tuk—the Thai term for rickshaw—juts from the front of the building above the awning, as though its wheel has just burst through the wall. But if that observer ventured inside, they would find neither debris nor an apologetic teleporter proclaiming that his calculations were off. Instead they would see diners seated beneath colorful wall art and hanging lamps whose shades resemble curving Möbius strips, or, according to one review from Gayot, snail shells. Then, once the adrenaline faded and reality set in, the investigating observer would be smacked by what was so obvious to everyone else: the aroma of mingling spices.
A compendium of noodle dishes, wok stir-fries, curries, and house specialties, the menu prioritizes the power of complementary ingredients. According to the same Gayot review, chef Aoi Rattanamanee has a particular knack for seasoning grilled dishes: "Chicken is marinated overnight in garlic, cilantro and black pepper, fostering deep flavor." The spicy basil fried rice mixes chili and thai basil within a vegetable medley, and the Crying Tiger beef derives its zest from garlic, galangal root, and soybean sauce. Those in search of proven staples can indulge in pad thai or one of three curry variants, whose ingredients have all simmered in a creamy coconut milk.
Today, the Los Angeles foodscape is saturated with the culinary styles of countries from the other side of the Pacific. But nearly 40 years ago, that was hardly the case. In 1976, Supa Kuntee and her family opened Chao Krung, one of L.A.'s very first Thai restaurants (the second ever, as far as they know). Early on, they attracted hordes of curious diners who had never sampled the Kuntees' native foods. Years later, the family still follows those traditional recipes when crafting their wide selection of noodle, rice, curry, grill-based, and wok-prepared entrees. The pad thai is quite popular, as is papaya salad and tom yum, a soup that can be made with spicy lemongrass chicken or tofu and mushrooms.
As they did with the menu, the Kuntees looked to authentic Thai traditions when designing Chao Krung. They pride themselves on recreating the elaborate decor found in many Bangkok restaurants, hinted at by the intricately carved welcome sign that greets guests in two languages. From tables set with linen napkins folded into lotus flowers, people can admire the ornate mural of the Chao Praya riverbank, or gaze through one the painted window boxes set into teak-wood walls. An illuminated sala roof, meanwhile, covers one end of the bar, protecting patrons from the intrusive gaze of any secret agent spies hiding in the rafters.