Bangkok Cuisine first started slinging authentic Thai food in 1983, throwing a bowl of spiced coconut milk across metro Detroit’s culinary landscape. The restaurant took taste buds by storm and quickly began opening full-service and express locations across the state. Today, it serves specialties such as bangkok chicken, vegetable curry, and shrimp or scallops pad thai from eight locations. All entrees roll out in queen-, king-, or Bigfoot-sized portions and come spiced to order in mild, medium, hot, or extra hot.
General Manager Yace Hang and the chefs at Rak Thai prepare authentic Thai fare for lunch and dinner, enlivening palates with five levels of spice scaled from mild to Bankai hot. Fresh veggies, fruits, and succulent sauces populate the eatery?s fusion dishes, which exhibit an unrelenting willingness to shake hands with neighboring plates and a penchant for juggling the tapioca balls at the bottom of delectable bubble teas. Rak Thai's clean, modern dining room streamlines dining aesthetics with burnished wooden tables and minimalist accents, vibrant lime-green walls, and a potted bamboo sentry to prevent noodles escapes.
The chefs at Mai's Authentic Thai Cuisine plate up a mélange of rice and noodle dishes spiced in five incremental levels of heat. Diners can request their dishes in a spectrum of spice, from one-pepper mild to five-pepper extra extra hot, transforming the casual dining room's freestanding and booth tables into elegant venues for a taste-bud showdown. Coconut milk in the house curries adds creamy sweetness and blessed relief from the heat, while scrambled eggs deliver a dose of protein to a flock of fried-rice preparations. Diners can customize most meals with a choice of vegetables, tofu, meat, or seafood, and free WiFi flows through the air like tom yum soup from a spoon.
In woks at Bangkok Cuisine, snow peas, shrimp, napa cabbage, and scallops snap sizzling drumrolls over the stove. Ingredients indigenous to Southeast Asia mingle in traditional Thai dishes, which also draw on the culinary traditions of the country’s neighbors. Catfish fillets marinate before chefs cover them in breading and garlic sauce, and shrimp, scallops, and squid evoke Thailand’s palm-tree-sprinkled coast. Chefs tailor each dish’s spiciness to individual palates, delighting daring diners with Thai peppers hotter than a fully-suited astronaut in a sauna. Fusion dishes include Chinese staples such as sweet-and-sour sauce.
The R-Club cultivates a Cheers-esque atmosphere, in which friends and beloved regulars can kick back, sip a drink, and munch on the menu of comforting and classic American fare. Cooks assemble sandwiches including the philly focaccia all day long, and after 4 p.m., they serve dinners such as crusted Alaskan halibut. Patrons perch at the bar to quaff drinks from draft beers to cocktails or slide into a booth with a few friends beneath bricks emblazoned with names and a string of Christmas lights. The packed schedule of live local bands injects a lively soundtrack into the air, catering to eardrums on Friday and Saturday evenings. In balmy weather, the outdoor patio flavors fare with fresh air as patrons enjoy refreshing breezes and staring contests with the sun.
Tian Chu's eclectic menu of pan-Asian cuisine represents its founders’ rich past. The Korean Cui family originally opened the restaurant in the Jilin province of China in 1983 before relocating to Budapest, Hungary, and rapidly expanding to five locations. Their beloved recipes followed them to Ann Arbor, where they opened a restaurant in 2010.
The family embraces their roots by filling the menu with a spread of familiar Korean, Sichuan, and Cantonese dishes. Marinated short ribs, lo mein, and bibimbap served in traditional hot stone pots all help to lend a storied, multiregional appeal to the expansive selection while giving bodies the nourishment they need for unpremeditated participation in Ironman triathlons.