The Bangkok Chef kitchen is a treasure trove of fresh, exotic ingredients—from juicy mangos to crisp kaffir leaves to fiery chilies. Chefs fold the ingredients into a comprehensive array of traditional Thai specialties, including curries, noodle dishes, and stir-fries. Inside the bustling kitchen, you'll find them flying around stirring tender duck and pineapple into a red curry and peeking into pots of bubbling tom yum soup, ensuring each dish is spiced to perfection. Servers carry dishes out into the bright dining room, where soft lights illuminate intimate tabletops and comfy booths, and expert bartenders blend up lychee martinis and minty mojitos. The restaurant sometimes closes briefly after the lunch rush before reopening in the evening, allowing chefs time to assemble fresh ingredients for dinner or attend rehearsals for the kitchen's upcoming production of Oklahoma!.
The chefs at Anothai Cuisine and Nara Thai Dining grind their own fresh herbs and spices to awaken patrons' tongues with each bite of their Thai dishes. Pungent curry coats seafood, chicken, and noodles, and on the other end of savory-to-sweet spectrum, mango imbues shrimp with flavor that evokes the tropical drinks of which ice fishermen's dreams are made. Artfully arranged garnishes complement colorful dishes to excite the eyes, which can scan the bright red and white accents between bites.
The chefs at Thai Jasmine begin their workday well before lunchtime, assembling the flavorful basil, crisp baby bok choy, and tangy fruits they will need for the day's dishes. They fold the fresh produce, meats, and spices into the authentic Thai specialties lauded by reporters from the Houston Press as "some of the honestly best Thai food in town". The chefs simmer up red, green, and yellow curries with coconut and bamboo shoots, and grill chicken, pork, and beef in a tangy Thai barbeque marinade. And, for dessert, they serve scoops of ice cream with fried bananas and sticky rice. But there is one thing they don't handle: drinks. Luckily, the BYOB eatery welcomes guests to bring beverages purchased at an outside store or squeezed from a roadside cactus.
When ordering a dish at Bangkok Thai Cuisine, you always know what you’ll be getting into. The restaurant classifies its dishes according to four levels of spice: mild, medium, spicy, and Thai hot. The last of these is reserved for those brave diners whose dietary staples consist of jalapenos, deep-fried chilies, and dragon meat. The rest appeal to a more diverse crowd and include highlights such as sweet-and-sour tilapia and eggplant with basil. Despite the menu’s penchant for customization, there’s only one word to describe Bangkok Thai’s dining room: warm. Chairs of rich cherry wood juxtapose spotless white tablecloths, and plants bask in the glow of small red lanterns that hang from the walls.
At first glance, Asia Market seems like a normal Asian grocery store stocked to the brim with Thai spices, Asian veggies, and imported trinkets from Thailand. But the scent of Thai cuisine quickly reveals that this grocery store doubles as a restaurant. A kitchen in the back of the store is where chefs handcraft such traditional Thai dishes as classic Pad Thai topped with bean sprouts and panang curry with eggplant. These lowkey approach to Thai cuisine has earned the praise of writer Alison Cook who called the dishes "rough-hewn" yet "spirited" and awarded the "mom-and-pop shop" with the #74 slot on her Top 100 list for (The Houston Chronicle)(http://gr.pn/16QVUw7).
For more than 27 years, Kru Pong and his wife, Toon, cooked Thai cuisine in three different continents. They have since settled down and unpacked their recipes at Thai Gourmet Restaurant, where they pour all of their knowledge into every dish of curried duck and stir-fried tofu. Thai food is known for its spice, and Thai Gourmet certainly delivers on that front. But the restaurant has a few less expected tricks up its sleeve, capping off meals with cool thai custard, mango ice cream, and creamy iced coffees. It makes sense that Kru Pong keeps ice on hand at all times; he probably picked up the habit at his other job as manager of Kru Pong Thai Boxing.