An intimate dining space sets the stage for Kuta's wide variety of flavorsome, Indonesian-influenced fusion cuisine. The prix-fixe menu offers one satay, appetizer, entree, and dessert ($25). Initiate your intake by coupling the Indonesian Madura satay (no extra charge prix fixe, $4.25 solo), featuring sweet soy-swabbed chicken or steak skewers with adornments of peanut sauce and crispy shallots, with the curry puff (add $2.25 on prix fixe, $6.95 solo), a succulent combo of chicken, onion, carrots, potato, and peanut sauce. Entrees such as the spicy Kuta burger ($3.95 extra on prix fixe, $12.95 solo), which combines a 10-ounce sirloin slab with onion brioche, grilled pineapple, and savory garlic fries, embody Kuta's skill for blending Old-World tastes with newishness. Cap off a pleasant evening with the crusted coconut fried ice cream (add $1.25 on prix fixe, $4.95 solo), which features pineapple and raspberry sauce adorning a fried scoop of vanilla.
Transcontinental Thai-French flavors seep into the pages of The Elephant's menu, leaving it spicy, yet legible. Treat your tongue to a starter such as salmon tartare served with a hot chili sauce ($9.75) or the charcoal-grilled eggplant salad garnished with cilantro and drizzled in sweet and sour dressing ($8.75). Double pork chops with sautéed Asian veggies ($19.75) and mussels steamed in a light curry sauce with French baguette ($17.75 for a full order) are oddball pairs that pair more perfectly than shoes and socks. Vegetarian options include non-duck duck breast in a sweet soy sauce with red pepper and scallions ($14) and aged tofu pad Thai loaded with rice noodles, crushed peanuts, and bean sprouts ($14). Pull a colorful seat up to the bar and banish low spirits with spirits from The Elephant's drink menu, or hang back, shrouded by hanging beads, and soak up the scene.
Thái Son attracts its regulars with what many consider the hallmarks of Chinatown dining—generous portions, quick service, and reasonable prices. Though its name suggests Thai food, the chefs specialize in the cuisine of Vietnam, such as velvety pho filling soup bowls that diners can take home and use as jacuzzi tubs. They also pile plates high with vermicelli noodles, bake Vietnamese casseroles, and churn out house specialties such as grilled ground beef wrapped in grape leaves.
Even the most journeyed Thai-food connoisseurs may find themselves on foreign soil while perusing Zabb Elee’s menu. And it’s easy to see why, as familiar signposts such as pad thai and coconut curry are nowhere to be found, an absence both recognized—and celebrated—by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Chef Ratchanee Sumpatboon foregoes the well-tread Bangkok staples to shine a light on the cuisine of Isan, a northeast region of Thailand that borders, and borrows flavors from, Laos and Cambodia. Laos-inspired larb salads fill out plates of ground pork, beef, and catfish with shallot, fresh mint, cilantro, and chili powder, and specialty dishes such as the pad ped moo krob balance crispy pork with eggplant, basil, and spicy curry. The menu also features lemongrass soups and a small section of Bangkok rice and noodle dishes. Diners can align each dish with their palate’s own heat threshold thanks to Zabb Elee’s spiciness scale, which tops off at five and tapers off at one, the approximate spice level of dragon mouthwash.
To create Nomad's signature dish, the couscous royal, chefs stew vegetables in a savory meat broth and crown a mound of couscous with chicken, lamb, and a spicy, beef-based sausage called merguez. Served together, these elements become one of Chef Domingo's many generous, shareable North African and Mediterranean dishes.
Bartenders can help wash down each bite with bottled and draft beer, specialty drinks, and an extensive selection of imported wines from countries such as Morocco, Spain, and Italy. Meals unfold in a spacious dining area illuminated by candlelight, scored by nomadic tunes, and surrounded by decor such as ochre walls, handcrafted wooden screens, imported Moroccan artwork, and Berber pottery.
Dining out is about more than the food, and the staff at Thailand Cafe recognizes the importance of creating a pleasant experience from arrival to check. The New York Times applauded this effortless dedication, claiming that, "among the many Thai restaurants in New York, Thailand Cafe is notable for its friendly, informal service and atmosphere." Of course, the aromas of complexly seasoned Thai cuisine that drift out of the kitchen certainly don’t hurt either. Behind closed doors, chefs create six different curries, incorporating coconut milk and basil into hearty broths that range from savory to spicy. In addition to classics like crispy basil duck and coconut shrimp, the menu of familiar Thai staples also includes an extensive selection of vegan- and vegetarian-friendly items, as well as plenty of dishes for those who tear up at the sight of abandoned baby corn.