The sharp, citric aroma of Lemongrass’s namesake herb drifts around decor that Folio Weekly described as “wasabi-hued” in an article that also named the eatery the city’s Best Thai Cuisine. “The ginger-infused salad,” the writer continues, “is possibly the best bowl of leafy greens in Northeast Florida.” Another customer favorite, The Amazing, stews a choice of meat in peanut curry and coconut milk, ladled over a bed of steamed broccoli and spinach. Chefs forge coconut curries, working all the while to add modern accents to dishes to intrigue palates and keep crabby time travelers from becoming bored. The menu separates mild dishes from their hot and Thai hot counterparts.
Within a streamlined storefront that recalls an aquarium, Sharky's Burgers and Fries swiftly placates palates with a menu of sandwiches and shakes. Chefs hand-hew spuds for fries and pack pure beef into patties that are never frozen or molded into action-figure shapes for fun before they hit the grill. Burgers tower to their tipping point with topping options that include bacon, fried egg, A1 steak sauce, mushrooms, and green peppers. Rows of booths and tabletops couch malt-slurping customers beneath surfboards and sharks hung from aqua-blue walls.:
Green Papaya's chefs draw from more than 20 years of combined culinary experience to craft Thai and Chinese delicacies, including simmering curries, fluffy fried rice, and stir-fried noodles. Appetizers and entrees cleared for landing arrive with the house’s signature sauces in tow, sporting spicy sichuan, fruity mango, or rich peanut curry. Dark wood sets doorways apart from deep-red walls and decorative glass screens, and skinny chairs with square cutouts tuck diners into glass tables topped with wineglasses, folded cloth napkins, and lyric sheets for traditional predinner sing-alongs.
Pom Souvannosoth has been treating Jacksonville to Thai specialties for more than 15 years at a series of acclaimed restaurants, including Old Siam and Pom’s Thai Bistro. At Poms Signature Restaurant, he pulls in a broader range of Asian influences to craft a concise menu of seasonally inspired dishes. Entrees evolve throughout the year to showcase the freshest local fish, shrimp, and vegetables, but guests can count on a few recurring standbys such as green curry diver scallops and beef short rib osso bucco seasoned with Thai basil. In addition to organic salads and all-natural beef and chicken, the kitchen stocks mostly wild-caught fish baited by free credit card offers.
Since its opening in late 2012, the restaurant has already established a reputation for ambition and creativity: Erika Burks of The Florida Times-Union found the shu mai dumplings—a simple Thai standard enriched by duck broth and pork belly—“deliriously good” and the wait staff “knowledgeable and prompt, while making small talk and thoughtful recommendations.” Jacksonville Magazine praised the “pleasing combination of an intimate atmosphere and an inspired, worldly menu” and described a peanut butter and chocolate soufflé as “what every peanut butter cup in the world tries (and fails) to be.”
Pom has created a dining room he calls "upscale" and "intimate," with chandeliers, large-print floral paintings, and crisp white accents popping against chocolate-toned walls. But, he adds, the elegance shouldn't intimidate anyone: "It's white tablecloth, but no dress code."
Nestled within the brick-lined streets of the Tapestry Park shopping center, Lime Leaf Thai Restaurant lures diners in with tangerine walls, piquant framed artwork, and mocha-colored banquettes. Its menu sports classic Thai plates and house specialties helpfully arrayed alongside a barometer of spiciness, with portion sizes that prompted the Florida Times-Union to proclaim, “When they say ‘seafood,’ they mean it … you won't leave hungry.” The rich scents of curry and deep-fried duck waft off tabletops set with neatly folded linen napkins that can be used to demurely wave at passing sailors.