Thai Heaven enraptures palates with a plentiful menu of authentic dishes served in a stylish, exotic setting. Color-coordinate outfits with traditional specialties such as green curry—a spicy concoction of bell peppers, green beans, basil leaves, and bamboo strips—and mild yellow curry, with potatoes and onions ($7.74+ lunch, $10.50+ dinner). The drunken noodle entree—rice noodles fried and stirred with jalapeños, onions, bell peppers, and sweet basil—weaves enticingly around the room before stumbling headfirst into diners’ mouths ($7.74+ lunch, $10.50+ dinner). Thai Heaven's Virginia Avenue location complements cooked fare with a wide-ranging sushi menu, allowing mouths to house fishy inhabitants such as the Super Crunch, tempura topped with smoked salmon and eel sauce ($8.50), the spicy tuna roll ($8.50), or pieces of nigiri and sashimi ($3.95–$6).
Layering flavors is a delicate enterprise that requires patience and practice, both of which the kitchen staff at Spice Market has in spades. Chef-Owner Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Chef De Cuisine Shean Suter use the streets of Southeast Asia as the inspiration for their menu, which celebrates experimental combinations such as the ginger, scallion, and tarragon that come together to flavor steamed halibut, and the kumquat-lemongrass dressing that tops char-grilled chicken. They also use these original twists to elevate Asian traditions, such as salmon sashimi topped with a chipotle emulsion and edamame flavored with yuzu butter and mace salt. Like its cuisine, Spice Market’s dining room comprises eclectic elements that fuse together, creating something sophisticated within the W Atlanta Midtown. Gilded ropes, slatted woodwork, and oversized paper lanterns hang from the ceiling, and pots of bamboo and tall vases filled with colorful flowers line the walls. Whether seated at private booths or snoring upon padded banquettes in the bar area, diners sip one of seven signature cocktails including a passion fruit whiskey fizz and a lychee-raspberry bellini.
Under the glow of lotus-shaped white chandeliers, plumes of steam ascend from aromatic Thai dishes laden with lemongrass, coconut milk, and tangy tamarind paste. The menu showcases a traditional spread of curries, noodle dishes, and grilled fish and meat entrees. The authenticity and tastiness of the recipes won praise in 2010 from the Cynical Cook, who called the thai beef jerky "addictive" and the chicken larb "everything you could want ? Each bite was juicy, meaty, and a satisfying mixture of peppers, limes, and salt." Thai statues and artwork dot the dining room, which opens to a white-curtained patio available during warm months to feed hungry breezes.
Within the cozy confines of Thai & Sushi's scarlet-walled eatery, taste buds can surf the fusion of flavors surging through a menu teeming with traditional Thai dishes and Japanese-style sushi platters. Tuna, salmon, shrimp, crab, and masago snuggle in a blanket of avocado and soy nori bedded down in the pineapple-slathered Hawaiian roll ($11.95). Olympic-medaled vegetable rolls lithely springboard from a platform of cucumber, avocado, asparagus, inari, and shiitake mushrooms into awaiting mouth caverns ($8) and pad thai chicken roosts in a spicy nest of rice noodles ($9.75). The sweet aroma of fresh ginger mingles with the sizzling serenade of chicken, beef, or pork and a garden-torn quartet of onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and expatriated lawn gnomes ($9.95).
Mali Restaurant offers menus of fresh sushi and traditional Thai fare in a warm, chic setting. Lunchtime diners can sample starters such as the customer favorite basil rolls filled with homemade barbecued pork, shrimp, noodles, and vegetables, served with dip-encouraging tamarind sauce ($5). Make it a seasoning motif with a main course of Chinese eggplant with basil, sautéed with onion and pepper in a spicy basil sauce ($8). Dinner partakers can wake drowsing taste buds with an appetizer of satay marinated in Thai herbs and curry powder ($9) or nosh on sushi selections such as the hole-free bagel roll filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and scallion ($6.50). Entrees include classic noodle dishes as well as mouth-watering meats such as the grilled duck breast with red curry, bedecked with pineapple, peach, and vegetables ($16). Yowling sweet teeth can be silenced with a dessert of fried banana with coconut ice cream ($7), while of-age appetites can be sated with a quaff such as the restaurant's own Thai tea-ni ($8), a blend of tea-infused and vanilla vodkas, sweetened Thai tea, and milk, sure to whet whistles and inspire whistles and soft-shoe routines of admiration.
Modifying menu items has irritated servers for centuries, directly leading to the Colfax Riot of 1873, the Attica Prison Riot of 1971, and the decline of R & B music. Today’s Groupon avoids world-altering events by letting you orchestrate your own orders: $10 gets you $25 worth of food and drink at The Real Chow Baby, Atlanta’s first and only create-your-own-stir-fry restaurant. Chow Baby is believed to be impervious to the harm of the natural world and all human weaponry, but rumors exist of a Nap Baby, born at the exact same moment and radiating concentric circles of pure, narcoleptic calm. Perhaps, if they are one day reunited, this madness will finally end. Until then, color-coded Chow Baby alert levels hold steady at fuschia: wary.