Diana Chauvin, born to a Thai mother and a Cajun father, spent much of her childhood in the kitchen of the family restaurant. The traditional southeastern Asian comfort foods her mother cooked there eventually inspired Diana to pursue a culinary career and open her own restaurant: La Thai Uptown. There, she designed the menu as a sort of edible family tree, conveying her ties to both Thailand and Louisiana. And this approach has garnered plenty of accolades, including Gambit magazine's award for Best Thai Restaurant in 2013 and best restaurant from other publications.
Diana?first runner-up in the 2011 Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off?showcases her ability to lend Thai entrees a Cajun twist by preparing Panko-crusted chilean seabass with jumbo lump crabmeat and a spicy, coconut-tinged green curry. On the other hand, the restaurant's fried duck confit features a finishing touch: a sweet and spicy garlic-chili sauce.
La Thai Uptown's space is as contemporary as its approach to cooking, too. Lengths of fabric dangle above guests' heads, converging into a central, tent-like apex and surrounding a chandelier-like fixture of strung crystals. Similar strands of crystal hang over the long brick bar, which sits opposite the front dining area's collection of tables and human-sized pneumatic tubes to Bangkok.