Little Thai Kitchen's chefs decorate porcelain canvasses with a menu of marinated Thai edibles presented in harlequin medleys beneath sprays of decorative bamboo. Stone and dark-cherry walls sprawl behind symphonies of silverware that clink gently like a robot with a rock in its shoe. Sticky sweet rice, veggies, and a variety of meats and seafood bask alongside spicy curries, including a green-chili concoction that the New York Times called "fierce and delicate at the same time." Frosted glass and brushed-steel lights spill warm light onto diners as they chat amid pastoral accents and artwork with Eastern influences.
Delighting food-loving locals, Thai Basil serves up freshly prepared flights of flavor that sport the spicy signifiers of authentic Thai cuisine. Cuisine classicists can sample the drunken noodles ($10/$12) mixed with any number of mouthwatering meats and tofus, or the pad thai, one of Thailand's most famous dishes, appetizingly augmented with stir-fried fettuccini noodles and steamed bliss ($10/$12). Adventurous patrons may pilot themselves toward the crispy red snapper ($20) or seafood jambalaya ($21), in which the beastly fire of choochee sauce courts the company of beauteous lobster and scallops made Cajun-style.
Named for one of Malaysia's states, Penang Malaysian & Thai Cuisine reflects the diverse history of that region in its eclectic bill of fare. The menu sates appetites with a selection of more than 100 dishes, all showcasing a blend of Chinese, Malaysian, and Thai spices and cooking techniques. Appetizers of roti canai—crispy Indian-style pancakes served with curry-chicken dipping sauce—might share table space with Malay beef satay, marinated in spicy peanut sauce and skewered on bamboo sticks. The house special, Thai basil chicken, serves up chicken with bell peppers, onion, and chili in a tasty Thai basil sauce.
Owners and family members Chandara and Achara Sysounthone harmonize the sweet and tangy flavors of authentic Thai and Lao cuisine in noodle and curry dishes and specialty noodle soups, drawing inspiration from their Thai mother and Lao father. Colorful mural representations of both countries plaster opposing walls as freshly prepared dishes float to tables, exemplifying the historic Mekong River market food-exchange between the two countries. Diners can customize many of the menu's meals with a one–five scale of spiciness to accommodate spice tolerance and turn up the heat on taste buds that refuse to talk.
San Juan Express aims to take taste buds on a tour of Puerto Rico's diverse flavorscape. The menu delivers authentic cuisine from around the famous island—from its well-trod beaches to its rural tropical jungles. Servers bustle about behind the counter, ladling out portions of oxtail stew, juicy slices of beefsteak, slow-roasted garlic pork, and crispy fried shrimp from a row of freshly made dishes. They also whip up a variety of traditional mofongos, topping mashed plantains with shrimp and pork. For dessert, the staffers dole out custard flan and moist tres leches cake.