Typhoon Asian Bistro's culinary team fuses classic Asian and contemporary Japanese flavors into carefully plated entrees festooned with sauces, flowers, and towering ingredients. The team rolls up fresh sushi, creating such dishes as the signature Black Pearl, where torched nigiris, sashimi, and exotic salsa set sail on a decorative boat. They also plate steak, seafood, and lamb dishes from Vietnam, Thailand, China, and Japan atop palm leaves or nestled into cocktail glasses for drinking contests between hungry sailors. The menu rotates with the seasonality of ingredients to build cuisines around a global wine selection. The drink menu also hosts imported Asian beers and sakes.
Inside Typhoon Asian Bistro's contemporary setting, warm lighting spills from wrought-iron lanterns streaked in red and hovering above Japanese wood and an exhibition sushi bar. Water cascades from 35-foot waterfalls, broken up by pillar candles and urban kayakers. In the warmer months, an outdoor patio hosts meals beneath shade-bearing umbrellas surrounded by a fence laden with flowers.
Before diners even glance at OM’s menu, their eyes feast upon a banquet of Asian art. Colorful Thangka paintings and Buddhist statues handcrafted by more than 50 Nepalese, Tibetan, and Thai artists color the space, and intricate Newar carvings frame the walls and doorways. Upon sitting at one of the bare, rectangular tables, patrons exchange pleasantries with their chairs and read through a menu reflective of the art that surrounds them. For instance, small plates of spicy edamame and veggie spring rolls join full entrees of shrimp pad thai or salmon wrapped in tempura nori. An intricate drink list includes the mandarin kaze (orange vodka spiked with sichuan peppercorn) and the Bangkok julep (a blend of bourbon, elderflower, and mint).
Beneath the dining room, a downstairs lounge hosts a diverse lineup of events. Salsa lessons make use of the dance floor, and vinyl parties enable attendees to trade, sell, or just play their records. DJs take over the turntables on Saturday nights, and a cover band re-creates classic R & B tunes every Tuesday.
Tom Yum Koong's chefs build on traditional Thai recipes to load their menu with exciting and eclectic ingredients ranging from tangerines and mango to wild boar and squid. Sugar and spice join forces to season the thick sauce simmering in the black-pepper-mango curry ($10.95), a flavorful bowl of vegetables and cashews mixed with a choice of meat. A medley of seameats such as mussels and squid sizzle in the Phuket fried rice ($10.95), and the fantasy tilapia ($13.95) takes time off from reading J.R.R. Tolkien to glide out of the kitchen atop a bed of veggies simmering in chili sauce. Basil leaves join peppers, onion, and pork in a skittering dance across the skillet in the pan-fried wild-boar basil ($9.95). Fresh-fish cravings recede at the sushi bar to prevent persistent urges to trawl through exhibits at the local aquarium.
If your old method of sampling everything on a restaurant's menu tends to make bewildered enemies of everyone else in the restaurant, today's Groupon will let you curtail the thievery while still treating the palate. For $15, you get $35 worth of small-plate Thai cuisine and drinks at Ronnarong Thai Tapas Bar in Somerville.
Inside a spacious setting adorned with Thai-style woodcarvings, stately pillars, and hanging plants, Erawan of Siam's chef and owner prepares authentic Thai cuisine using techniques perfected across her more than 20-year career. She folds traditional herbs and spices into every dish, starting with appetizers such as the red-curry-infused todmun, a golden-fried shrimp cake served alongside a ground peanut and cucumber dipping sauce. From there, tongues traverse main dishes that, like the best Harlequin romances, span three levels of spiciness, progressing from sweet and mild stir-fried roasted duck with pineapple and scallions to grilled salmon laced with extra spicy choo-chee curry.