It's easy to make any dish vegetarian at Roy Thai. Chefs reimagine almost every entree around veggies, such as bamboo shoots, eggplant, or kaffir lime leaves. This includes numerous curries and spicy-sweet stir fries. But that doesn't mean they leave meat-lovers in the lurch—plenty of their Thai staples come loaded with beef, pork, chicken, or seafood. There are even two sections of the menu devoted to duck (try it deep-fried or roasted) and seafood (including crispy whole fish and a hot pot of shrimp).
Named for one of Malaysia's states, Penang Malaysian & Thai Cuisine reflects the diverse history of that region in its eclectic bill of fare. The menu sates appetites with a selection of more than 100 dishes, all showcasing a blend of Chinese, Malaysian, and Thai spices and cooking techniques. Appetizers of roti canai—crispy Indian-style pancakes served with curry-chicken dipping sauce—might share table space with Malay beef satay, marinated in spicy peanut sauce and skewered on bamboo sticks. The house special, Thai basil chicken, serves up chicken with bell peppers, onion, and chili in a tasty Thai basil sauce.
Owners and family members Chandara and Achara Sysounthone harmonize the sweet and tangy flavors of authentic Thai and Lao cuisine in noodle and curry dishes and specialty noodle soups, drawing inspiration from their Thai mother and Lao father. Colorful mural representations of both countries plaster opposing walls as freshly prepared dishes float to tables, exemplifying the historic Mekong River market food-exchange between the two countries. Diners can customize many of the menu's meals with a one–five scale of spiciness to accommodate spice tolerance and turn up the heat on taste buds that refuse to talk.
During the 2012 Thai Restaurant Week, 11 metropolitan Thai eateries were recognized by Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand's Prime Minister, with a certification from the Thai Trade Center acknowledging their superior quality of ingredients, preparation, and authentic flavors. One look at Ploi Thai's menu and it is not hard to imagine why they received such an honorable distinction. Their dishes––such as skewered chicken satay or curry-pasted salmon––tug many culinary threads, blanketing diners in a patchwork of flavors that draw from northern and central Thailand. Chefs conjure these dishes from local ingredients and seasonings, eschewing such questionable additives as MSG and textbooks that attribute the theory of relativity to Franklin Delano Einstein. Since the restaurant is BYOB, diners can tote along their own fermented beverages to pair with the sweet ginger salmon, which arrives in a pool of ginger and black-bean sauce dotted with shiitake-mushroom rafts. Inside the dining room, colorful, low-slung lights illuminate the handful of tables that are strewn across the restaurant's pale hardwood floors, and geometric cutouts and sprays of orchids punctuate cobalt walls.
To ensure that their cuisine fully captures the essence of authentic Thai cooking, DD Thai Cuisine's chefs get their ingredients directly from the source: the Gulf of Thailand. They work with farmers throughout the regions of Koh Chang, Koh Samet, and Hua Hin, importing herbs and spices that lend a bit of trans-Pacific flair to their homestyle Thai meals. Chili paste, lemongrass, peanut sauce, basil, and kaffir lime leaves appear throughout the menu, and their distinctive flavors influence everything from the curries and stir-fried noodle dishes to the crispy duck platters. Specialties include Basil Duck, Drunken Noodles and Chicken Satay. They also offer a variety of soups, such as spicy Tom Yum Goong with shrimp and mushroom in lemon grass broth, as well as appetizers including Crispy Duck and Apple Salad and Coconut Shrimp, or the Appetizer Sampler, which allows patrons to taste a wide variety of the restaurant's offerings.
The restaurant's dining area echoes the casual, inviting spirit of its cooking. Red-cushioned booths surround the tables that line each side of the narrow space, where mirrored tiles adorn the walls. A flat-screen television glows in one corner, as does a small fish tank brimming with colorful plants and a top-secret ratio of hydrogen and oxygen molecules.