Early each morning, when darkness is still fading from the sky, one of Thai Cuisine Restaurant’s chefs is already wide awake, breathing in the aromas of spices from an asian market. He or she plucks fresh vegetables and traditional ingredients from vendors' stands, selecting flavors for the day’s Thai dishes.
Back at the restaurant, curry sauces as colorful as they are flavorful drench bite-size pieces of meat, seafood, or tofu, which also feature in a variety of soups. Traditional pad thai and lo mein dishes share table space with spicier plates stir-fried with basil leaves, peanut sauce, and bamboo shoots. The accommodating chefs can customize meals according to taste requests, dietary restrictions, or allergies to foods that begin with q.
Orchard Thai’s menu features well-spiced, authentic Thai dishes. Begin with the Thai summer roll, a montage of lettuce and carrots nestled within vermicelli noodles and served with hoisin sauce and crushed peanuts ($4), or sip your way into satisfaction with the traditional spicy lemongrass soup seasoned with kaffir leaves, lime and chili tamarind oil with chicken, tofu or shrimp ($5). The braised short rib massaman sautés potatoes and bell peppers in a sweet chilli sauce ($25), while the larb chicken lobs minced chicken with spicy red onion, cilantro, scallions, mint and lime into your mouth mitt ($18). Soothe spice-laden palates with Thai iced coffee ($4) or sticky coconut rice crowned with a fleshy slab of mango ($7).
At Thai Singha, cooks specialize in fusing authentic flavors with meats that aren't typically found in Thai cuisine. Here, cognac-infused red curry coats grilled rack of lamb and housemade curry smothers chunks of alligator. Thai Singha's selection isn't limited to its adventurous signature creations, however. Sweet chili paste spices boneless duck, and cubes of chicken, beef, or pork stud popular dishes such as pad see ewe and drunken noodles. In addition to all these meaty mains, the culinary team also crafts vegetarian versions of pineapple fried rice and lemongrass soup.
Tasty Buddha likes to describe itself as a “no veto” restaurant. Though it focuses on Asian fare, its menu caters to diverse tastes and diets so no one will have a reason to veto an outing. American-food die-hards can dine on hearty burgers or try out fusion entrees such as pizza fried rice with italian sausage, tomatoes, and parmesan. Morsels of pork, chicken, and tofu fill out several other more traditional versions of the classic Asian fried-rice dish, which the menu describes as “Just like your mom used to make. (If you are from Malaysia.)” For vegetarians, locally made tempeh is an option for almost every entree, including tempeh coconut curry and a tempeh burger blended with secret spices. Tasty Buddha's idealistic owners turn the walls of each location into a gallery for local artists to display and sell their work. Thirty percent of proceeds from the sale of art goes to a local charity, whereas the rest goes to the artist for the upkeep of the multicolored cows from which they milk their oil paint. To advocate for a more sustainable food system, Tasty Buddha's cooks also use as many local ingredients in their meals as possible.
Aiming to emulate the tucked-away wine bars and cafes of Europe, Le Rouge Wine Bar and Tapas accommodates its guests in the low-lit, loungey atmosphere with chic, comfortable chairs and warm tones. Of course, there's wine. Along one wall, rows of wine bottles are displayed adjacent to a line of intimate tables where couples share small plates, or wait for the next course in a tasting menu coupled with wine pairings.