Since opening more than 22 years ago, Taste of Thai Halal has celebrated the traditional flavors of Thailand with a halal menu of curries, noodle dishes, and seafood. In addition to classic dishes such as pad thai and fried rice, adventurous palates can sample squid tossed in tamarind-spiced curry, or duck flavored with fresh ginger root and hot peppers. Dessert takes the soothing shape of coconut ice cream or bites of rasmalai, an Indian delicacy made with cheese dumplings and sweet cream.
Surrounded by bamboo shoots and polished wood tables, diners at New Saigon Vietnamese Bistro Restaurant bow their heads over steaming bowls of pho, traditional vietnamese noodle soup. The eatery offers pho varieties to suit any palate, including rare and well-done beef, chicken tenders, and assorted seafood. Once the bowls are served and diners put on their slurp-guard suits, they can customize their dishes with traditional accoutrements such as thai basil, bean sprouts, sriracha, and fresh lime wedges. The menu also includes other authentic Vietnamese dishes, such as dumplings filled with shrimp, braised duck, and rare beef mixed with egg noodles and flavorful greens, as well as manager’s favorites such as singapore curry noodles and seafood lo mein.
Layering flavors is a delicate enterprise that requires patience and practice, both of which the kitchen staff at Spice Market has in spades. Chef-Owner Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Chef De Cuisine Shean Suter use the streets of Southeast Asia as the inspiration for their menu, which celebrates experimental combinations such as the ginger, scallion, and tarragon that come together to flavor steamed halibut, and the kumquat-lemongrass dressing that tops char-grilled chicken. They also use these original twists to elevate Asian traditions, such as salmon sashimi topped with a chipotle emulsion and edamame flavored with yuzu butter and mace salt. Like its cuisine, Spice Market’s dining room comprises eclectic elements that fuse together, creating something sophisticated within the W Atlanta Midtown. Gilded ropes, slatted woodwork, and oversized paper lanterns hang from the ceiling, and pots of bamboo and tall vases filled with colorful flowers line the walls. Whether seated at private booths or snoring upon padded banquettes in the bar area, diners sip one of seven signature cocktails including a passion fruit whiskey fizz and a lychee-raspberry bellini.
Under the glow of lotus-shaped white chandeliers, plumes of steam ascend from aromatic Thai dishes laden with lemongrass, coconut milk, and tangy tamarind paste. The menu showcases a traditional spread of curries, noodle dishes, and grilled fish and meat entrees. The authenticity and tastiness of the recipes won praise in 2010 from the Cynical Cook, who called the thai beef jerky "addictive" and the chicken larb "everything you could want ? Each bite was juicy, meaty, and a satisfying mixture of peppers, limes, and salt." Thai statues and artwork dot the dining room, which opens to a white-curtained patio available during warm months to feed hungry breezes.
Within the cozy confines of Thai & Sushi's scarlet-walled eatery, taste buds can surf the fusion of flavors surging through a menu teeming with traditional Thai dishes and Japanese-style sushi platters. Tuna, salmon, shrimp, crab, and masago snuggle in a blanket of avocado and soy nori bedded down in the pineapple-slathered Hawaiian roll ($11.95). Olympic-medaled vegetable rolls lithely springboard from a platform of cucumber, avocado, asparagus, inari, and shiitake mushrooms into awaiting mouth caverns ($8) and pad thai chicken roosts in a spicy nest of rice noodles ($9.75). The sweet aroma of fresh ginger mingles with the sizzling serenade of chicken, beef, or pork and a garden-torn quartet of onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and expatriated lawn gnomes ($9.95).
Voted Best Thai restaurant in 2009 and Best Restaurant for a First Date in 2008 by Creative Loafing, Spoon boasts a menu that is simple yet playful. Chef Aim Suteeluxnaporn, who runs Spoon with her sister Sujaree, adds spicy twists to authentic Thai mainstays such as chicken satay ($8), pad thai ($8 lunch, $9 dinner), and red curry with eggplant and zucchini ($11 for dinner), serving them as works of edible art presented on inedible plate-frames. Like the new Butterfinger candy bar, noodles, curry dishes, stir-fries, and seafood can be prepared medium spicy, hot, or Thai hot. The eatery's specialty entrees include the golden red snapper ($17) topped with a light ginger sauce and toasted sesame seeds. All entrees can be specially prepared with either tofu or vegetables to accommodate vegetarians.