Chow Asian Street Food whisks diners down the bustling pavement of China, Thailand, and Japan with authentic home-cooked dishes such as savory soups, noodles, curries, and fried rice. With a cornucopia of comfort fare at their fingertips, guests can fill fingers with grippable morsels such as crispy straws with shrimp and cream cheese ($5) or fresh crab-and-avocado spring rolls ($7). A steaming bowl of tom kha soup with chicken and a coconut milk ($4.25) runs across tongues with calming comfort akin to licking grandma’s favorite quilt, and red curry with chicken, beef, or tofu relaxes an overwhelming need for flavorful spices ($10.50). Guests can twirl fork tines in eight different pan-fried noodle plates, including pad thai ($8.90) and chow mein ($8.90), or quiet hunger with the crispy catfish gently massaged with chili powder ($15).
Best Thai's kitchens sizzle with dishes from fiery menus of family recipes that vary by location, featuring aromatic curries, fresh stir-fries, and Thai specialties. Taste buds disappear into the forest of veggies infused with sweet thai basil that makes up the jungle curry with chicken ($9.95), leaving only distant cries of "Delicious!" and "Dr. Livingston, I consume." House specialties such as the soft-shell crab in panang curry ($15.95) or lemongrass-and-basil chicken ($9.95) delight noses with spicy bouquets delivered on the tips of forks and spoons. Shrimp, onion, and eggs speed down highways of flat, stir-fried noodles in the Five Star noodles ($10.95), leaving blazing trails of spice and lost broccoli luggage in their wake.
Water gurgling down glass walls and a golden dragon etched into the host's stand hint at the exotic origins of Thai Spice Cuisine's menu items. From colorful, heat-packed curries to sesame-miso salmon stacked atop a bed of fresh greens, each dish is a work of art, meant to be appreciated for its beauty before being eaten or autographed by Jeff Koons. However, the menu still makes room for less high-minded treats: the cinnamon-sugar banana spring rolls harks back to the classic banana split with drizzles of caramel sauce and a solitary cherry accompanying its dollop of vanilla ice cream.
For Shelly Nan, the decision of whom to put in the kitchen of her new restaurant, Bambu Asian Cuisine, was a simple one—her mother. Together, the pair has created a home-like ambiance that draws patrons and wayward teddy bears almost as much as the food. Dallas Observer food critic Hanna Raskin gushed that the “warmhearted owners and servers will explain everything to you (including, by your second visit, your own likes and dislikes).” Nan had connections to the defunct Sushi Rock, and some of its Japanese-style dishes made it to Bambu. However, the heart of Bambu’s menu is Esan-style cuisine, regional specialties from the northeastern part of Thailand. Some dishes spell out their affiliation—as with the Esan waterfall beef salad tossed with cilantro, fresh mint, scallions, red onion, and crushed, toasted rice—while others sneak it in. Dallas Morning News columnist Leslie Brenner said the Esan dishes “set [her] heart aflutter,” particularly the crying tiger beef with sticky rice, whose grains can be balled up and used to pick up both the beef slices and citrus-chili sauce. Like Raskin, Brenner also became quite attached to chef Bounmee Nanthaphak, admitting that “if someone condemned me to a desert island with only three ingredients, I’d ask if we could make it two ingredients and include Bounmee Nanthaphak to cook them.”