If Thai authenticity depends on spiciness, Touch of Thai's chefs might as well be in Bangkok. "Lovers of authentic and hot, hot, hot Thai food will love this place," noted VoicePlaces, which quickly recommended such "tongue-singeing" dishes as chicken with yellow curry and shrimp with red curry. In fact, the chefs set diners' choices of chicken, beef, or seafood ablaze with four types of coconut-milk-infused Thai curries, whose spice levels may be adjusted on request. Meanwhile, a whole section of the menu is reserved for vegetarian cuisine, which provides bursts of protein from crispy tofu stir-fried with fresh chili pepper and green beans that have been hitting the gym.
Sala Thai Restaurant rewards its most loyal customers with a free dinner on their eighth visit. Considering the restaurant’s extensive menu—there are more than 100 options—racking up that many meals isn’t a difficult task. Thai spring rolls stuffed with vegetables and fried tofu prep palates for nine styles of Thai curry and barbecue platters of shrimp, sweet sausage, and pork. The staff pairs their lengthy menu with more than a dozen frozen drinks blended from exotic fruits, Thai coffees and teas, and water on the lam from the blazing kitchen.
PaPaYa Thai Restaurant’s chicken mango curry won Best Thai Curry 2009 by Phoenix magazine. It brims with the bold, sweet, and spicy flavors of coconut milk, mango, and red-curry paste, further enhanced by sweet basil, lean chicken, and bell peppers, each shaped like a life-size Stanley Cup. It’s testament to the carefully crafted dishes typical of PaPaYa, which serves traditional dishes that alternate between sweet, sour, and salty flavors and feature no MSG. The barbecue grill adds crispiness to chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, and salmon, each plated beside thai sticky rice and sides of sweet chili dip or spicy lime sauce. Most dishes can be made vegetarian on request, and PaPaYa’s attentive waiters encourage patrons to pick their preference of spiciness, ranging from mild and medium to thai hot.
To make Thai Basil’s signature dish, chefs sauté the restaurant’s namesake herb with spicy garlic, bamboo shoots, and a variety of vegetables. Thai basil is also found in a bounty of other plates—grilled eggplant brightens beneath its characteristic tang, spicy fried rice takes on a Thai flavor with the herb, and three curry dishes incorporate it in their stews of coconut milk and spices. Tofu, beef, chicken, and a selection of seafood play central roles in the restaurant's selection of rice, noodle, stir-fry, and grill entrees, each conveniently priced by protein rather than individual dish or the number of letters in its name. Dishes find complement in a wide selection of iced and hot teas and traditional desserts, such as sticky purple rice topped with Thai custard.
At Satara, chefs preps a plethora of seafood, chicken, and tofu dishes with authentic Thai sauces. Amid walls adorned with abstract and figurative artwork by Scottsdale artist Domingo Domingo, diners relish piquant curries prepared for omnivores, herbivores, and troubadours alike. Between bites ranging from mild to thai spicy, patrons can sip boutique wines fetched from both small and featured vineyards.
Thai cuisine incorporates an endless range of tiny chile peppers, coconut milks, basil, and other ingredients. Thai Buffet’s chef and owner Lumjuan (Joanne) Ritdej, originally from Puntangchai, Thailand, draws upon 50 years of experience to bring those building blocks together into brightly hued and adventurous dishes. Lemongrass and other herbs may lend their flavor and color to green curries, while pumpkin contributes a sunset palette to red curries with beef. The buffet sprawls across the dining room during mealtimes, and sandwiches brim with American or Thai ingredients.