Compact and maneuverable, tuk tuks—motorized rickshaws—dart through the narrow streets of Bangkok with ease, helping drivers to flit through traffic jams and around obstacles. Tuk Tuk Restaurant's chefs honor their namesake with nimble knife-work in the kitchen, where zingy spices pervade complicated Thai dishes. Seasonings such as tamarind, lemongrass, ginger, chili, and lime dapple stir-fried and curried meats and vegetables, and twirls of noodles entwine with basil and radishes. Waiters transport steaming plates to the high-ceilinged dining room, where a white-on-white image of a tuk tuk presides over tables.
From hand-selecting all of the restaurant's produce at a local farmers' market to testing recipes to ensure authenticity, the owner of My Thai Table influences every dish that emerges from the kitchen. Each platters carry an additional personal touch from the chefs, whose close ties to Phetchabun, Thailand ensure that their entrees simmered, stir-fried, and spiced according to the country’s culinary traditions. Noodle staples such as pad thai and pad see ew accompany four types of curry and three kinds of fried rice, as well as signature house specialties such as shish kabobs that bookend beef, shrimp, and chicken with mushrooms and pineapples.
A chic lounge attached to the dining area beckons guests to recline on sky blue ottomans and benches. The square tables set throughout the space play host to glasses of Napa Valley wines and frothy bottles of imported Chang and Singha beers. During private events, the rhythms of smooth jazz float from the restaurant’s live ensemble, enticing passersby to glance through the floor-to-ceiling windows and try to catch the echoes of a fading bass line with their bare hands. Starting December 20, customers can revel in live jazz every Thursday from 6—9 p.m.
Owner Patcharapa Landis serves up traditional Thai recipes amid dark wood paneling and framed Thai artwork. Natural light shines on curry dishes embellished with coconut milk, bamboo shoots, and basil leaves, as well as pan- and stir-fried noodles topped with shrimp and pork. Japanese influences also make their way onto tables in the form of classic sushi rolls wrapped in delicate sheets of seaweed. To choose between desserts such as cheesecake tempura or fried bananas, patrons can quickly post a survey for friends and spiritual mentors via the eatery's free WiFi.
Chefs at Thai Chef’s House use fresh ingredients and traditional cooking techniques to highlight the five flavors most prevalent in Thai cooking: spicy, sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. In each dish, they endeavor to strike a balance between all five flavors—spicy red and green curries are laced with sweet coconut milk and charbroiled pork comes with a dish of sweet-and-sour dipping sauce. The setting is authentically Thai as well—the dining room is filled with trinkets and oxygen shipped in from Thailand.
The passionate and experienced chefs at Takieng Thai Cuisine dished up meals in Thailand before heading to the states to plate a menu of authentic Thai cuisine. Greeting taste buds with mild, medium, or hot levels of spiciness, the thai fried rice hosts a party bustling with egg, veggies, and a special-guest protein of your choice ($8.95), who promises to not wear a clown mask this time. Classic noodle dishes such as pad thai ($8.95) or pad see-ew ($8.95) slide down esophageal slaloms, and yum-tow-hu—tofu salad ($6.95)—fills bellies with cilantro-laced sustenance. The cozy, wood-paneled interior is enhanced by Thai artifacts, resulting in a casually intimate atmosphere ideal for deep conversations about filling out W-9 forms.
The chef deep-fries half a boneless duck until it forms a crisp outer shell and then douses the poultry in a honey-barbecue sauce. He then moves to another grill and browns prawns marinated in a tequila cream sauce. Eclectic dishes, such as the honey-roasted duck, fill Siam Patio Thai Cuisine’s menu. Unique ingredients pop-up in all aspects of the menu—from curries with a pumpkin and seafood pairing to a deep-fried crispy chicken sautéed with mango. Chefs also include old Thai favorites on the menu, such as pad thai and fried-rice dishes, for those who prefer the comfort of familiarity, much like hugging an imaginary friend.
Bright yellow and orange walls, with sparse decorations and the occasional Buddha statuette, enclose guests at Thai Cottage. Here, chefs continue the eatery's tradition—which is more than a decade old—of creating authentic Thai fare in a family-friendly atmosphere. The menu catalogs specialty dishes such as deep-fried spring rolls and Pad Prik King, a mix of long beans, kaffir lime, and rice in coconut milk and red curry. And a full bar allows guests to enjoy a Sam Smith IPA or a Toasted Head chardonnay sourced from an in-state vineyard. These smooth libations can be called upon after patrons try some of Thai Cottage's spiciest fare, which, as The Sacramento Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson wrote in a review of the restaurant, "…was runny nose in July hot, chug-a-lug the water hot, take out a lighter and put the flame to your tongue hot."