There must have been considerable coordination between the head chef and interior decorator at Montri Thai; the walls vary in color from red and green to lemon yellow––a fitting homage to the kitchen's use of red, green, and yellow curries in its traditional Thai recipes. Artistic plating of braided noodles garnished with wisps of green chives parallels the dining room's floral bouquets, and intricate sauce designs succeed in making the plates hungry for themselves. A full wall of floor-to-ceiling windows and blue neon lights illuminate the bright ginger and orange notes in beef, chicken, and tofu dishes. An elephant motif drives the sophisticated Eastern vibe home with bronze statues, framed photographs, and loud stomps resonating from the peanut room.
Jaded Thai’s chefs personalize every order that leaves the kitchen. The pan-fried noodles, six types of curry, and stir-fried entrees can emerge with the diner's choice of tofu, meat, or seafood, as well as spice level ranging from mild to intensely hot. The heat stems from the fiery Thai chilies, which add piquant flavors to the menu items' aromatic doses of ginger, basil, or housemade peanut sauce.
Chefs imbue Zakuro Thai Sushi Cuisine's intimate dining room with the aromas of traditional Thai noodle dishes, fried rice, and seven types of curry. For dinner, they craft specialties such as deep-fried soft-shell crab with basil sauce, served with vegetables and a choice of white, brown, or fried rice. At the sushi counter, chefs hand-roll maki including the Hollywood, layering spicy tuna and shrimp tempura inside kelp or soybean paper and topping the bundle with fried onions and seared Cajun albacore. The softly lit restaurant boasts wood floors, Asian figurines, and tall, twig-like accents that are lit from beneath, casting spindly shapes on the walls like two saplings making shadow puppets.
Thai Vilage entices taste buds with classic ingredients including basil, peanuts, and plum sauce, infusing them into an array of authentic Thai dishes. The seasoned crab meat and cream cheese of crab rangoons ($6.95) pave the way for a classic pad thai entree, which peppers fried rice noodles with eggs, bean sprouts, and magical tamarind incantations ($9.95). Patrons warm their hands over the pineapple, walnuts, and sweet chili sauce of the Blazing salmon ($14.95), and forks battle over the spicy mongolian beef resting on a bed of crispy rice noodles ($9.95). Guests are invited to open their own libations without the burden of a corkage fee, or sample authentic liquid flavors with thai iced coffee or tea ($2.50).
At Baisi Thai—whose fusion menu melds Japanese and southeast Asian fare—the staff takes presentation seriously. Sushi chefs decorate rolls such as the Rainbow Dragon, Green Turtle, and Caterpillar to look like their namesakes, with caviar eyes and vegetable horns. Bartenders fill cocktail glasses with neon-green Baistinis and other mixed drinks and, in the kitchen, curried noodles collide with stir-fried veggies and traditional Thai basil. The airy, spacious eatery, located at the Oakbrook Center mall, is striped with translucent space dividers, and avenues of thin, vertical reeds sway between orange columns and UN delegates researching models for international flavor cooperation.