Asia Bay serves the "best sushi in this town," according to actor Alec Baldwin, who tweeted his recommendation while in Fort Lauderdale to film Rock of Ages, according to pbpulse. The man behind this A-list-worthy cuisine is executive chef and co-owner Peter Hepp, who according to Miami New Times "is hip to the aesthetic of clean lines, vivid colors, and brightly delineated flavors." Hepp's chefs drizzle the menu's more than 60 sushi and sashimi plates with colorful sauces as carefully as painters adorn canvas, yielding dishes that are as nice to look at as they are to eat. The 50-seat dining room operates under a similarly modern theme, with large picture windows, white leather chairs, and curved-back banquettes which Social Miami calls "minimalist-chic."
Outside, a patio held up by stilts lifts diners above the rippling waves of the Tarpon River, helping garner Asia Bay an OpenTable Diners' Choice Award for Best Outdoor Dining. Here the decor invites relaxation with large parasols, old-fashioned street lamps, and seagulls who will give backrubs for fresh-cut sashimi.
Fresh seafood parades on either side of the glass of Galanga Thai Kitchen and Sushi Bar's expansive aquarium. As decorative foliage casts dappled shadows atop the bustling bar, sushi chefs keep one eye on the tank and one eye on their 23 inventive sushi rolls. In the kitchen, the chefs also flip flame-kissed steaks and whip together Thai specialties that include drunk noodles and panang curry. Sips of wine, sake, or imported beer augment each bite, and decadent desserts provide mealtime sendoffs in the form of deep-fried cheesecake, chocolate mousse, and green-tea ice cream steeped by an abominable snowman.
When discussing the inspiration behind his love of cooking and hospitality with reporters from the Sun Sentinel, Michael Tatton credited his father, saying, “I was fascinated by all the people my father knew and the different foods he introduced us to.” Following in his dad’s footsteps, Michael opened Thai Spice more than two decades ago at the young age of 19. Today, Michael continues to captain the restaurant, which The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences honored with the prestigious Five Star Diamond Award for excellence in cuisine and impeccable service.
Deep in the kitchen, Michael and his chefs place innovative spins on traditional Thai dishes using flavorful spices and premium seafood, meats, and vegetables delivered fresh daily. Pots of curries and tom yum soup simmer on the stoves, as lobster, duck, and Chilean sea bass sizzle in pans. Meanwhile, grills crackle with fine cuts of steak, and plump chickens roast over open fires.
Out in the dining room, tropical fish glide through the salt waters of towering tanks among swaying plants and colorful rocks. Blue lanterns dangle from the ceiling, casting a warm glow over white-clothed tables and intimate booths. The walls feature exotic artwork depicting traditional Thailand scenes, from elephants raising their trunks to a businessman who went on a soul-searching trip to find his inner sassiness.
From the moment you walk in, it's clear that Moonchine Asian Bistro is up to far more than pan-Asian eats. High-backed banquettes, jet-black walls, and soft red lighting all give rise to a clubby vibe; after 9 p.m., Moonchine turns into a full-on lounge with the help of dance DJs, bottle service, and even the occasional poetry performance or high-stakes geography bee. Miami New Times hailed Moonchine as "the gem of the Mimo District," advising guests to "arrive around 6 p.m., have a few rolls, and then head to the music lounge to warm up the dancing shoes."
Indoors and in the huge garden area, bartenders keep spirits high by mixing specialty cocktails and recommending bottles of sake from an extensive list. Which isn't to say that food's an afterthought?indeed, chefs have a lot on their plates, so to speak, juggling Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, and Korean culinary traditions. House-made kimchi mingles with creative sushi rolls, classic Thai and Indochinese dishes anchor one large corner of the menu, and there's even an almost-traditional bistro section: mussels, duck, and a "thai burger," each given light Asian accents of their own.
At 2B Asian Bistro, it's actually possible to begin your dinner with a bag of gold. That's because the Bag of Gold appetizer uncannily resembles its namesake—its tiny fried pouches contain shrimp, mushrooms, and water chestnuts. The appetizer paves the way for the menu's larger dishes, which present diners with a choice: Japanese or Thai? The former category covers teriyaki entrees as well as sushi, sashimi, and maki rolls. Specialty rolls include the Golden Dragon—spicy tuna and mango topped with plantain slices—and the Pink Snow Roll, smoked salmon and avocado wrapped in soy paper. As for the Thai plates, they range from curry to Bangkok duck paired with cinnamon-plum sauce. You can even order your pad thai accompanied by an entire lobster, rather than just its tail and signature top hat.
In the traditional Thai style, the chefs at Bangkok Bangkok Restaurant use fresh herbs, lemongrass, kaffir lime, and spicy chilies to tickle all five taste regions of the tongue—sweet, sour, hot, salty, and neutral. Fiery curries are tempered with coconut shipped in from the homeland, and cashew nuts add rich crunch to the sautéed Earth, Wind, and Fire chicken. The Little Big Man presents diners with a whole fish fried until the outside is crisp and the inside is flaky and tender, slathered from nose to fin in hot chili sauce. The decor is welcoming and casual, with wood-paneled walls and vintage art framed on the walls. Guests have the choice of two different seating areas, one with tableclothed tables and chairs, and the other with low platform tables and cushions for sitting on the floor.