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.
Locally sourced produce and meats mingle with imported Thai spices on Surin's hefty menu, which considerately calls out spicy dishes with 0–3 chili-pepper symbols. Embark on an epicurean adventure to Southeast Asia with a helping of fancy Thai sausages ($6.50) or a suitcase filled with the tender beef fillets and spices of the nuer nom tok ($9.50), served with crisp cabbage leaves for wrapping. Shrimp and asparagus offer companionship to the star crustaceans of the soft-shell crab dish ($18), and egg, broccoli, and garlic exhibit their friendliness by offering to french-braid the flat noodles of the pad see-u entree ($10.50). Chefs can whip up Thai curries in three levels of spiciness, the highest of which comes with its own tongue-cooling ice sculpture melted into a water glass.
Mali Restaurant offers menus of fresh sushi and traditional Thai fare in a warm, chic setting. Lunchtime diners can sample starters such as the customer favorite basil rolls filled with homemade barbecued pork, shrimp, noodles, and vegetables, served with dip-encouraging tamarind sauce ($5). Make it a seasoning motif with a main course of Chinese eggplant with basil, sautéed with onion and pepper in a spicy basil sauce ($8). Dinner partakers can wake drowsing taste buds with an appetizer of satay marinated in Thai herbs and curry powder ($9) or nosh on sushi selections such as the hole-free bagel roll filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and scallion ($6.50). Entrees include classic noodle dishes as well as mouth-watering meats such as the grilled duck breast with red curry, bedecked with pineapple, peach, and vegetables ($16). Yowling sweet teeth can be silenced with a dessert of fried banana with coconut ice cream ($7), while of-age appetites can be sated with a quaff such as the restaurant's own Thai tea-ni ($8), a blend of tea-infused and vanilla vodkas, sweetened Thai tea, and milk, sure to whet whistles and inspire whistles and soft-shoe routines of admiration.