Thai Basil Chandler's hanging lamps warmly illuminate Thai dishes from a classic dinner menu, such as a five-appetizer combination platter including satay chicken, fried tofu, and butterfly shrimp. Entrees slake appetites with the traditional flavors of pad thai and spicy pan-fried rice noodles. Diners can also explore a half-dozen curries, including the elusive Tim Curry and the more popular gang sapparod, awash in coconut milk, red curry, and pineapple chunks. The grilled seafood platter combines an array of oceanic eats including prawns, calamari, and scallops, each marinated in thai herbs and sidekicked with a homemade sauce. Throughout the meal, dining duos and quartets can toast to the dog's ability to microwave its own dinner with glasses of cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir.
For 18 years, David Fliger lived the life of an adman, traveling the world and eating fine foods. But inside the Thailand-born foodie lurked a restaurateur, a seed perhaps planted by his mother, Nicha, who also left a career in advertising to start a restaurant. Today, Nicha and David work together in the kitchen of Latitude Eight Thai Grill, named after a region in southern Thailand known for fresh seafood. This regional specialty is reflected in the menu’s ocean-centric dishes, such as crab fried rice, grilled halibut, and garlic prawns. Servers stride from table to table, recommending dishes and wine pairings inside what Phoenix Magazine dubs a “modern and minimalist” dining room. The dark wood floor and tables serve as a stark contrast to the white banquettes and walls. Spotlights illuminate an oversized piece of art that’s textured to resemble rolling waves or a wall made out of pasta.:m]]
PaPaYa Thai Restaurant’s chicken mango curry won Best Thai Curry 2009 by Phoenix magazine. It brims with the bold, sweet, and spicy flavors of coconut milk, mango, and red-curry paste, further enhanced by sweet basil, lean chicken, and bell peppers, each shaped like a life-size Stanley Cup. It’s testament to the carefully crafted dishes typical of PaPaYa, which serves traditional dishes that alternate between sweet, sour, and salty flavors and feature no MSG. The barbecue grill adds crispiness to chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, and salmon, each plated beside thai sticky rice and sides of sweet chili dip or spicy lime sauce. Most dishes can be made vegetarian on request, and PaPaYa’s attentive waiters encourage patrons to pick their preference of spiciness, ranging from mild and medium to thai hot.
To make Thai Basil’s signature dish, chefs sauté the restaurant’s namesake herb with spicy garlic, bamboo shoots, and a variety of vegetables. Thai basil is also found in a bounty of other plates—grilled eggplant brightens beneath its characteristic tang, spicy fried rice takes on a Thai flavor with the herb, and three curry dishes incorporate it in their stews of coconut milk and spices. Tofu, beef, chicken, and a selection of seafood play central roles in the restaurant's selection of rice, noodle, stir-fry, and grill entrees, each conveniently priced by protein rather than individual dish or the number of letters in its name. Dishes find complement in a wide selection of iced and hot teas and traditional desserts, such as sticky purple rice topped with Thai custard.
If Thai authenticity depends on spiciness, Touch of Thai's chefs might as well be in Bangkok. "Lovers of authentic and hot, hot, hot Thai food will love this place," noted VoicePlaces, which quickly recommended such "tongue-singeing" dishes as chicken with yellow curry and shrimp with red curry. In fact, the chefs set diners' choices of chicken, beef, or seafood ablaze with four types of coconut-milk-infused Thai curries, whose spice levels may be adjusted on request. Meanwhile, a whole section of the menu is reserved for vegetarian cuisine, which provides bursts of protein from crispy tofu stir-fried with fresh chili pepper and green beans that have been hitting the gym.
Sala Thai Restaurant rewards its most loyal customers with a free dinner on their eighth visit. Considering the restaurant’s extensive menu—there are more than 100 options—racking up that many meals isn’t a difficult task. Thai spring rolls stuffed with vegetables and fried tofu prep palates for nine styles of Thai curry and barbecue platters of shrimp, sweet sausage, and pork. The staff pairs their lengthy menu with more than a dozen frozen drinks blended from exotic fruits, Thai coffees and teas, and water on the lam from the blazing kitchen.