The ingredients used in Chinese, Japanese, and Thai cuisine are vastly different, as are the methods of preparation. At Zhuang's Garden, they come together in surprising ways. Eight crackling hibachi-grill tables and a sushi bar represent Japan, and Chinese décor and the aromas of lo mein hint at the traditions of that nation. Glasses of wine clink together above plates of Thai food at the BYOB eatery, where the dishes include curry that is the brilliant yellow of turmeric or a banana salesman’s business card.
Voted the Best Ethnic Restaurant by Berks County Living in 2009, Thai Cuisine packs Southeast Asian flavor into each lunch and dinner dish. This laid-back eatery specializes in quality, vegetable-filled entrees such as the shrimp curry in red coconut cream sauce ($16.95) as well as lighter salads ($7.95–$8.95), and traditional, flat and tasty pad thai noodles ($15.95 with chicken). Each meat-centric dish can be made vegetarian-friendly, and diners can specify the spiciness of their order, selecting from mild, medium, hot, or hotter than the surface of the moon. The eatery also maintains a friendly BYOB policy, making its dining quarters a prime spot for group get-togethers.
Traditional tastes of Thailand adorn the romantic tables within Jazmine's dining room, introducing palates to flavorful bursts of signature lemongrass, bright chilies, and peanut-sprinkled dishes. For lunch, try the dancing sea salad ($10), a waltz of spicy grilled squid and shrimp soaring over a ballroom of mixed greens. If you swing by during the dinner hour, dive into a hearty plate of green curry ($14), a cornucopia of vegetables doused in coconut milk and topped with basil and your choice of meat or tofu. A full bar also resides in the relaxing space, allowing diners to complement their dishes with tasty libations like the lychee martini ($7), a tropical and tangy fusion of fruit, liquor, and giggle zest.
Thai Spice's plenteous noodle and curry dishes infuse rich flavors from traditional Thai recipes. Dress up perpetually bald tongues with the spicy basil noodle, a wide-noodle dish laced with string beans, mushrooms, and chili peppers ($10.95–$13.95). Alternatively, bored forks can search for the seafood-combo treasure at the bottom of the Emerald Sea platter ($17.95), or sample the bamboo shoots swimming in coconut, carrots, sweet peppers, and broccoli in the kang ped curry ($12.95–$14.95).
To create Pad Thai Restaurant's namesake dish, chefs stir-fry thin rice noodles, shrimp, bean sprouts, and crushed peanuts into a house sauce, the recipe of which is a closely guarded secret. It's one of more than 100 authentic Thai items that the culinary team creates using ingredients and herbs predominantly imported from Thailand. Along with coconut, ubiquitous bean sprouts and crushed peanuts fill the authentic thai pancake. Pineapple curry coats succulent cuts of duck, and a housemade sweet and sour sauce balances sesame-covered chicken. Glasses of thai iced tea or iced coffee wash down meals, but the BYOB restaurant also allows diners to supply their own drinks, rather than sip from a straw that connects to an opened soda in their car.
At Rice King Asian Cuisine, the staff doesn't force their diners to pick a favorite between Chinese, Japanese, or Thai fare. Instead they bring all dishes under one roof, creating a lengthy menu of spicy seafood, seasoned vegetables, garlic noodles, and aromatic rice. They introduce western concepts to some of the dishes in items such as bourbon chicken, cheesesteak roll, and bacon fried rice.
Fabien Chaigneau has labored over stoves in the Dominican Republic and Philadelphia, yet his bouillabaisse—a stew of mussels, clams, salmon, and prawns—will tell you that he hasn't lost touch with his native Pays de la Loire, a coastal French region. His menu at SIPS Bistro & Bar acts as a conduit for this culinary nostalgia. Duck confit, arrays of cheeses, and a catalog of French wines transport palates overseas, and brie sandwiches and hors d'oeuvres of bruschetta preserve an airy bistro ambiance. According to a feature in the Phoenixville Patch, however, Fabien's ultimate mission is not to fully transplant the European gourmet scene, but to render its platters at once delicious and affordable to the community.
The restaurant's 118-year-old building complements the food's rustic appeal. At the original bar, handcrafted cocktails mix fresh fruit purées with champagne and schnapps. Bricks line a sunlit archway and the ground of the outdoor courtyard. A fountain burbles quietly on the patio's edges, but its sound is masked by jazz music during Saturday and Sunday brunch—a prix fixe experience that pairs housemade crepes and norwegian eggs with smooth songs, such as Singin' in the Rain’s "Good Morning."