Tom Yum's seasoned Thai chefs create authentic Thai dishes using trademark Thailand spices. The ingredient roster also extends to such flavor-enhancers as ginger, basil, and coconut milk, the kind of milk least likely to come out of a cantaloupe. Along with traditional rice, curry, and noodle dishes, they flame-grill and sauté exotic specialties, including a lobster pad thai and barbecue chicken with papaya salad.
Ceetay's elegantly plated meals of grilled seafood, garlicky fried rice, and tender noodles tossed with colorful veggies tastefully blend the culinary influences of Japan, China, Thailand, and the United States. Like Bruce Springsteen lyrics embroidered onto a wool sweater, the interior evokes a post-industrial mystique that's strangely charming and cozy, with warm light from mason-jar chandeliers bathing small tables surrounded by walls clad in Chinese newsprint. Two small open kitchens allow patrons to watch chefs prepare meals of maple-kissed beef, soba-noodle stir-fry, or hazelnut crème brûlée. Interesting ingredients such as sea urchin, crispy salmon skin, and wagyu beef infuse sushi rolls with rich flavors and textures, and frosty Japanese beers and European and American wines offer suitable complements no matter the diner's dinner selection.
As its name suggests, two halves create Full Moon Asian Thai Restaurant. On one hand is a vibrant, bustling dining room that would not feel out of place in Manhattan. The sounds of lively chatter pervade the open space, hanging over rows of wooden tables where napkins stand upright on plates like swans engaged in staring contests. This electric atmosphere juxtaposes neatly with the quieter corners of the restaurant, where eyes are drawn to elaborate woodcarvings and ears perk up at the sound of water burbling across bricks and sandstones imported from Thailand.
This fusion between West and East—between fast-paced and meditative—carries over to the Zagat -rated restaurant's menu. Sweat-inducing spices strike a balance with the sweet flavors of papaya in colorful curries. Similarly, crushed peanuts and handpicked bean sprouts lend a pleasant crunch to the rice noodles of a traditional pad thai dish. Purple- and orange-tinged lamps dangle above guests as they sample the spread of Thai cuisine, giving them the appearance of tigers at a black-light rave.
Geranium red walls and a seemingly endless supply of fresh Thai orchids contribute to the serene ambiance at Reka’s Thai Restaurant, where the kitchen staffers create classics of royal-style cuisine. With a focus on subtlety of flavors, they fuse both imported ingredients as well as those from local merchants when creating dishes like Escargot Thai Style, Green Papaya Salad, Crispy Duck with Crispy Kale, and Wild Boar Jungle Style, all of which are plated with an artful flair. To complement the leisurely dining style, chords from a classical guitarist permeate the dining room on every Friday and Saturday evening.
Ai's menus are replete with classic and creative plates. A selection of traditional rolls, such as tuna or salmon ($4 each), will fill the usual sushi strongholds, but for hardened appetite bunkers, call in the game-changing bombs of special rolls such as the rainbow (a California roll topped with assorted sashimi and rainbow caviar, $9.95). There are also hearty chef's specials, including mango passion shrimp (sautéed shrimp and mangos in a special Thai pepper sauce, $13.95), and dinner entrees, including teriyaki beef negimaki (thin-sliced beef and scallions in teriyaki or Asian garlic sauce, $12.95).