Sweet basil, chili sauces, and ginger cast their scents throughout the dining room at Thai Palms, providing an olfactory glimpse of the intricately spiced menu. The curries range from mild yellow broth to spicy green varieties. Bamboo-skewered morsels of chicken, beef, and prawns line the grill tops, and rolls of fried rice paper surround cores of herb-accessorized proteins.
Cozy Thai's expert chefs design daily lunch and dinner specials to abruptly quell appetites, plucking items from an extensive menu and serving them to diners in plush red booths. Bellies warm up with appetizers such as the karee puffs––crispy-fried pastries with curried chicken, snow peas, and sweet potatoes, served with a pool of cucumber sauce ($5.95 for six) that's great for dunking or refreshing midmeal splash fights. In the drunken noodles, stir-fried flat rice noodles mingle with bean sprouts, bell peppers, bamboo shoots, and onions in a Thai wine sauce, sobering up in the presence of chicken, pork, beef, tofu or vegetables ($6.95 lunch, $9.95 dinner). A Cozy Thai specialty, the salty and spicy shrimps ($11.95) live up to its title, proudly prancing across plates, declaring their piquancy, and holding their breath until they get their way. Wash down a meal with a glass of Thai iced tea ($2.50), which stands ready to deglaze fiery gullets.
Keothip’s menu burgeons with nearly 100 specimens of Thai and fusion cuisine. Diners can team sweet with savory by ordering pineapple fried rice ($11.95), or pitch pad thai ($9.95) mouthward with chopsticks. Adorned with ground black pepper, the chef's sautéed-garlic specialty ($9.50) pairs mushrooms with a choice of chicken, pork, or beef. Instead of teaching shrimp ($12.95) to crawl, patrons can let them doggy-paddle through seas of chili sauce in cashew water wings. Beer and wine ($4–$8) help diners toast special occasions, preventing them from microwaving stale birthday greetings.
Owners Tom and Alin Prom source fruits and vegetables for their Thai and Laotian dishes from farmers' markets and harvest fresh lemongrass and galangal from the Alin's sister's local garden. The fresh ingredients come together in elaborate salads, curries, and meat dishes with the option of vegetarian substitutions. After flavor, presentation is paramount: papaya salad piles upward in a delicate tower, and pineapple fried rice arrives in a hollowed pineapple or in the midst of a pineapple bush. Floral arrangements, Southeast Asian artwork, and golden tablecloths complement the colors of vibrant lunch and dinner entrees.
Serving up eclectic Thai cuisine, The Orchid boasts an extensive menu of modern and traditional culinary creations. Stop in to sample scrumptious noodle and rice dishes made with a choice of tofu, chicken, beef, or shrimp, such as the kai kua with noodles, crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, lettuce, and scallions ($8–$10). Or, nosh on panang curry ($10–$12)—a spicy red-curry coconut sauce with bell peppers and kaffir lime leaves—and titillate the exotic taste buds of a temerarious tongue. Diners can commence conversations about the artistic merits of Oreos: The Movie with a duck roll, an appetizer of roasted bird meat, cucumber, carrots, and green onions swathed in a flour tortilla and served with hoisin sauce. Kick back amid the relaxing, contemporary décor, enjoy a drink at the self-serve wine bar, order up some deliciously raw fish at the sushi bar, and entertain friends with a slew of teary-eyed, wasabi-related dares.
At first glance, the menu of Restaurant Open might appear simple and static with a selection of sandwiches and burgers. This, however, is only half of the story. Each day, the restaurant's chefs post daily specials, and here is where the restaurant shines. Not only do they "freestyle" improvised, off-the-menu dishes after conversing with patrons, but they also mingle in nearby markets and chat up vendors, looking for interesting ingredients to convert into the specials for that day's morning and afternoon. A quick browse through a photostream shows off delectable selections. Tri-tip filets sizzle on a grill, ready to be cut and put into tortas, sandwiches, or the mouths of passersby. Noodles swirl with veggies and sesame oil to be converted into lo mein, while fresh cuts of fish and whole lobsters rest on ice. Other specials—detailed on the restaurant's whiteboard—include meatball sandwiches and honey batter-dipped corn dogs.