In 2008, four sisters started Bambu Desserts & Drinks as a hobby. Today, the San Jose–born brand has established a major presence in the Bay Area, and has expanded to other states including Hawaii, Nevada, and Texas. Bambu’s success can be traced to the quality of its treats, as well as its variety: the menu is packed with about 100 Asian-inspired desserts and beverages. Tapioca balls float in their milk teas, which range in flavor from lychee to coconut to jasmine, and their dessert drinks combine such intriguing ingredients as coconut, pandan jelly, longan, basil seed—which form the Bambu special. Various hot and cold coffee drinks, such as Vietnamese coffee, café mochas, and lattes, put a spring in guests' step—more convenient than filling your shoes with jumping beans. The staffers also concoct blended coffees and smoothies, which come in flavors including strawberry, coconut, papaya, and avocado
Though he hails from West India, Chef Emeliano Rebello showcases dishes that simmer in kitchens across his native country. He roasts chicken in a tandoor clay oven and marinates seafood in piquant curries. He also plates classic vegetarian dishes such as baigan bharta, a thick eggplant stew, which dining companions can soak up with nine varieties of fresh-baked flatbreads. And although requesting an entree that matches your birth weight is not recommended, Chef Rebello is happy to customize dishes to suit each diner’s preferences and spiciness thresholds.
Begin your culinary journey with an order of spring rolls or cheese rolls, stuffed with raisin-studded rice paper and deep-fried (both $4.25). Classic dishes done well appease traditionalists, including spicy Tom Yum soup ($4.25–$5.25), pad Thai ($8.95), pad see eiw ($8.95), and five kinds of curry ($8.95–$9.95). Build a balanced meal with the entree and rice dishes including garlic and pepper lover ($8.95) with stir-fried meat tossed in black pepper sauce over cabbage. Diners can also pick from grilled selections ($10.95–$12.95), served with shrimp fried rice and steamed veggies. Cool off a spice-saturated palate with a sweet scoop of coconut ice cream ($3.50) for dessert. Expect friendly service, carefully curated curry, and a cozy ambiance at any of the eight outposts. Like the recipe for Play-Doh, Thai Cottage adheres to simple, timeless standards.
Recently voted Best Thai Restaurant by the Houston Press, Ginger Thai Cuisine invites enterprising appetites on a culinary expedition through Thailand's fragrant, spiced culinary realms. Pair games of footsie with appetizers such as the steamed-rice dumplings, plumped up with pork and mushrooms ($5), then sojourn on to curry entrees such as the green curry ($12–$14), enlivening lagging tongues with a rich blend of coconut milk, eggplant, green beans, jalapeños, and a choice of chicken, beef, pork, tofu, or shrimp. Bellies that remain faithfully silent during games of library hide-and-seek can be rewarded with chef specialties such as the soft-shell crab in a spicy basil sauce ($18) or the stir-fried ginger duck, guarded by a fresh-vegetable phalanx ($15). Those pining for more orb-like fare can pick and choose a bounty of furled fish from Ginger Thai Cuisine's exhaustive sushi menu.
When ordering a dish at Bangkok Thai Cuisine, you always know what you’ll be getting into. The restaurant classifies its dishes according to four levels of spice: mild, medium, spicy, and Thai hot. The last of these is reserved for those brave diners whose dietary staples consist of jalapenos, deep-fried chilies, and dragon meat. The rest appeal to a more diverse crowd and include highlights such as sweet-and-sour tilapia and eggplant with basil. Despite the menu’s penchant for customization, there’s only one word to describe Bangkok Thai’s dining room: warm. Chairs of rich cherry wood juxtapose spotless white tablecloths, and plants bask in the glow of small red lanterns that hang from the walls.
For more than 27 years, Kru Pong and his wife, Toon, cooked Thai cuisine in three different continents. They have since settled down and unpacked their recipes at Thai Gourmet Restaurant, where they pour all of their knowledge into every dish of curried duck and stir-fried tofu. Thai food is known for its spice, and Thai Gourmet certainly delivers on that front. But the restaurant has a few less expected tricks up its sleeve, capping off meals with cool thai custard, mango ice cream, and creamy iced coffees. It makes sense that Kru Pong keeps ice on hand at all times; he probably picked up the habit at his other job as manager of Kru Pong Thai Boxing.