The chefs at Mai's Authentic Thai Cuisine plate up a mélange of rice and noodle dishes spiced in five incremental levels of heat. Diners can request their dishes in a spectrum of spice, from one-pepper mild to five-pepper extra extra hot, transforming the casual dining room's freestanding and booth tables into elegant venues for a taste-bud showdown. Coconut milk in the house curries adds creamy sweetness and blessed relief from the heat, while scrambled eggs deliver a dose of protein to a flock of fried-rice preparations. Diners can customize most meals with a choice of vegetables, tofu, meat, or seafood, and free WiFi flows through the air like tom yum soup from a spoon.
In woks at Bangkok Cuisine, snow peas, shrimp, napa cabbage, and scallops snap sizzling drumrolls over the stove. Ingredients indigenous to Southeast Asia mingle in traditional Thai dishes, which also draw on the culinary traditions of the country’s neighbors. Catfish fillets marinate before chefs cover them in breading and garlic sauce, and shrimp, scallops, and squid evoke Thailand’s palm-tree-sprinkled coast. Chefs tailor each dish’s spiciness to individual palates, delighting daring diners with Thai peppers hotter than a fully-suited astronaut in a sauna. Fusion dishes include Chinese staples such as sweet-and-sour sauce.
Founded by two brothers descended from a long line of Thai chefs, Khom Fai whips up authentic cuisine in a relaxed, modern setting. The menu ranges from mouth-watering to mouth-scorching, but doles out ample servings of both for Thai bingers of all experience levels. Appetizers of seafood rangoon ($5.50) and coconut soup ($4) synchronize the taste buds for Khom Fai's traditional entrees. Newbies can wade into the timeless pad thai served with a choice of chicken, beef, tofu, or veggies ($8.50, $10 with shrimp) and those who have mastered the tiger-prawn uppercut head straight for the sizzling Khom Fai crispy chicken, fried with a honey-sesame glaze ($8.50). A plate of thai fried ice cream dolloped with vanilla custard and chocolate syrup gives the meal a sweeter finish than most episodes of Are You Smarter Than a Raptor? ($5).
As if winning the admiration of customers across Detroit wasn?t enough, Chrystyna Adams, head chef and owner of Christine?s Cuisine, went ahead and earned a spot in Rachael Ray?s heart with her homemade pierogies, which the Food Network star deemed the best in Michigan. And pierogies aren't the only thing the Chrystyna can make. As Dining in the D discovered, the talented chef transforms beets and sour cream into decadent Ukrainian borsch, and keeps potato pancakes light, crispy, with her not-so-secret secret: adding oil to the batter, rather than the pan.
Yet, like David Hasselhoff's popularity, Chrystyna doesn?t stop in Eastern Europe. Her hand-written menus showcase items from across the globe. She brings flavors from Italy and Greece with eggplant parmesan and chicken athena dabbled with feta; she sends a shout out to America and its love for grilling and cows with blackened burgers paired with potato chips; and, she even turns breakfast up a notch with smoked salmon omelets, peanut butter and jelly waffles, and bacon and cheddar pancakes.