Though its food can be fiery, the atmosphere at Mai Thai Restaurant is decidedly cool. Its photographs of serene beaches create a tropical vibe, complemented by sheer curtains billowing between tables and lights twinkling from inside strung netting. Even appetizers of coconut shrimp and crispy calamari transport diners to a scenic shoreline.
Those hoping for something spicy aren't left adrift, however. The staff increases the heat in each dish depending on what number the diner gives them on their spice scale. Those preferring milder fare can ask for a 0-spice plate, while the truly adventurous can select the maximum 4-spice option, or simply ask for their meal served inside a bottle of sriracha sauce. Flavorful curries also follow a spectrum of spiciness, from the sweet Patpong panang to the more intense Bangkok green. And house specialties employ heat in a more literal way—the volcano chicken, for example, arrives sizzling atop a bed of vegetables with plum sauce.
The Thai Lotus kitchen comes alive at mealtimes, when chefs roll up their sleeves and begin preparing fiery noodles, garlicky stir-fries, and creamy red, green, and yellow curries. The aroma of fresh herbs fills the air as the chefs whip up Thai specialties like volcano chicken and sweet basil duck. The versatile chefs also extend their culinary expertise toward a variety of Chinese and Vietnamese dishes, including tangy orange chicken and simmering pho noodle soups. As the chefs labor in the kitchen, their guests perch on tufted booths, sipping fruity bubble teas and imported beers.
The skilled chefs at Thai Gourmet cook up a menu full of authentic curries, mouthwatering noodles, and piquant sauces representative of southeast Asian cuisine. Flavorful appetizers such as marinated chicken satay ($8.95) skewer pre-dinner stomach rumblings, and a dish of pad thai eases exotic pasta cravings with a mélange of roasted peanuts, sprouts, and tamarind sauce ($8.95+ for lunch, $13.95+ for dinner). Meals at Thai Gourmet run the gamut of flavors, colors, and textures from a simmering panang curry swimming in a milky coconut milk base ($8.95+ for lunch, $15.50+ for dinner) to a rich, twice-cooked curry duck served with mixed vegetables and red curry sauce ($28, dinner only). The eatery's spacious interior delights diners with cool blue tones and cushy booths while the inviting bar serves up signature drinks amid distinctive décor such as Thai sculptures and Yul Brynner bobbleheads.
More than 2,500 miles separate Japan and Thailand, a fact that is made apparent by their cuisines’ contrasting values—an adherence to clean, simple flavors on the one hand, and complex mélanges of fragrant herbs and spices on the other. Embracing both sides of this spectrum, Bangkok Tokyo’s menu features an extensive selection of fiery and savory curries as well as freshly sliced maki and nigiri.
Asian Bowl's menu is loaded with both iconic and unique dishes from Thailand and Japan. The roasted duck, a boneless slab of poultry slathered in homemade soy sauce and escorted by pineapples and steamed broccoli ($10.95), represents Thailand's cuisine more effectively than Ms. Thailand dressed in a gown of rice noodles. Patrons can taste the Land of the Rising Sun noodle by noodle with the Japanese tempura soba, which arrives at the table submerged in a seasoned fish broth and accompanied by shrimp and veggie tempura ($8.95), or let their uvulas high-five the seafood delight ($10.95), loaded with fresh shrimp, squid, crab, and scallops, then stir-fried to perfection with veggies and garlic sauce.
While Thai Express satisfies cravings for curry and drunken noodles quickly, they don't sacrifice quality for speed. They craft dishes from traditional recipes and populate their menu with exotic and sweet pineapple curries, pad see eiw with large flat noodles and sweet soy sauce, and healthy mixes of stir fried veggies. All of their plates of authentic Thai food can also be paired with a Thai iced tea or a sweet dessert like mango sticky rice.