Norraset Nareedokmai, acclaimed chef of Bangkok Balcony fame, helms the ornately edible wheel that steers this cozy and creative eatery. Small plates include everything from rolls to dumplings. Try the fresh rolls ($5.50 for two), which hug crispy tofu, rice noodles, and veggies inside rice paper, or the salmon-stuffed dumplings ($4.50 for three). Chicken kabobs ($5.50 for two), banana-leaf cups of curried tilapia ($6.95), and chicken and beef satay ($4.95) round out the tapas menu. Service a heartier appetite with Silk Elephant's curry selections (from $12.95) or classic noodle and rice dishes (from $9.95).
The authentic menu features dishes that heap on the spice without overwhelming the subtle interplay of textures and flavors for which the culinary culture of Thailand is known. Although there are many dishes designed to set palates ablaze, Bangkok Balcony also offers a multitude of milder bites. Ignite the meal with an appetizer of mussels and fresh basil in hot garlic sauce ($9) or a more-sweet-than-sassy steamed pork-and-shrimp dumpling ($8). Season your stomach with curried plates such as pineapple curry with your choice of meat, green peas, and coconut milk ($14) or an oodle of see-you noodles with broccoli and egg ($13). Stick to the ground level of the food chain with one of many vegetarian delights, such as the tofu platter with deep-fried tofu stir-fried with carrots, broccoli, and onions in a roasted curry paste ($14).
Drawing on inspiration from the cuisine of India as well as Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan, the menu at Himalayas features colorful and aromatic dishes ranging from tandoor-baked chicken to savory Nepalese momos, similar to dumplings. Fresh breads such as onion kulcha and garlic naan are baked daily inside the tandoor.
The skilled chefs at Thai Foon wrangle runaway appetites with delicacies from countries such as Thailand, Korea, and Vietnam. Whipped up with your choice of chicken, beef, or shrimp, signature dishes such as lemongrass stir-fry and spicy basil with bamboo shoots sate hunger while entertaining bored taste buds with a beautiful song about being eaten ($6.95–$7.95). Pad thai elevates diners to savory heights before safely drifting back to earth on a parachute held together by rice noodles and bean sprouts. Red, green, and yellow curries, on the other hand, prefer to lure patrons into a sweet, saucy trap before pelting them with carrots, bell peppers, and pineapple chunks. Bask in the warm glow of a thai curry noodles plate fortified with your favorite meat, or dig into a pile of house fried rice, grabbing forkful after forkful of minced Thai-style sausage, chicken, shrimp, beef, and lime-spritzed veggies ($8.95).
The Tribune-Review praises the "dizzying array" of curries available at Curry on Murray, which range from unorthodox types such as pumpkin and duck to more traditional red, green, and yellow varieties. Thailand native Werakul “Rhee” Laoworakiat’s culinary team imports the rich spices of Thai cuisine to their authentic curries, though they also prepare milder classics such as pad see ew or crab rangoon. Diners eat in a high-ceilinged area, surrounded by what the Tribune-Review calls “industrial-style décor.” Acoustic-jazz musicians take the stage every Friday and Saturday night, and a trio of white-haired wizards takes the stage every time there's an eclipse.
The rainbow trim bordering Cool Ice Taipei’s ceiling evokes the diversity of manager Bobo’s steaming Taiwanese dishes and chilly fruit drinks. Skilled baristas mix fresh fruit into snow ices and all-natural smoothies to pair with pork and shrimp stir noodles, and hot pots of cabbage and duck. After polishing off a Taiwanese–style wasabi fried chicken, diners can use a straw to vacuum up a milk tea or a dozen hot flower teas to charm a love interest returning from the desert.