Norraset Nareedokmai, acclaimed chef of Bangkok Balcony fame, helms the ornately edible wheel that steers this cozy and creative eatery. Small plates include everything from rolls to dumplings. Try the fresh rolls ($5.50 for two), which hug crispy tofu, rice noodles, and veggies inside rice paper, or the salmon-stuffed dumplings ($4.50 for three). Chicken kabobs ($5.50 for two), banana-leaf cups of curried tilapia ($6.95), and chicken and beef satay ($4.95) round out the tapas menu. Service a heartier appetite with Silk Elephant's curry selections (from $12.95) or classic noodle and rice dishes (from $9.95).
The authentic menu features dishes that heap on the spice without overwhelming the subtle interplay of textures and flavors for which the culinary culture of Thailand is known. Although there are many dishes designed to set palates ablaze, Bangkok Balcony also offers a multitude of milder bites. Ignite the meal with an appetizer of mussels and fresh basil in hot garlic sauce ($9) or a more-sweet-than-sassy steamed pork-and-shrimp dumpling ($8). Season your stomach with curried plates such as pineapple curry with your choice of meat, green peas, and coconut milk ($14) or an oodle of see-you noodles with broccoli and egg ($13). Stick to the ground level of the food chain with one of many vegetarian delights, such as the tofu platter with deep-fried tofu stir-fried with carrots, broccoli, and onions in a roasted curry paste ($14).
Lotus Thai House's dedication to healthy food begins with the basics, such as the use of pure vegetable oil and low-sodium soy sauce. Chefs also eschew the use of MSG in all their dishes and can adjust a plate's spiciness to accommodate different taste buds. They craft a range of authentic Thai dishes, such as beef and pork curries and basil or mango fried rice. The pillars of the menu, though, are the signature dishes, which include pad kee mao with chicken and shrimp and the Tropical Bird's Nest: a m?lange of seafood and chicken in thai sauce. Hot tea and a range of imported and domestic beers help wash down bites.
In addition to a sensory-stimulating spread of Asian and American buffet fare, Royal Buffet & Grill offers a full menu of Chinese classics. At the hibachi grill, an accommodating chef slices and dices dishes to your liking, whether square, saucer, or obtuse-isosceles shaped. Adults pay $6.95 for the lunch buffet, $10.95 for dinner, and $5.50 to $7.99 for standalone entrees. Children under 3 eat for free and wicked witches trapped under houses can eat leftovers if they behave.
Channeling the comfort and familiarity of a neighborhood gathering place, Dive Bar & Grille is not your typical watering hole. Inspired by local area corner bars, Dive Bar & Grille offers a relaxed twist on local nightlife, providing an all-inclusive dining and late night experience, giving guests no reason to leave.
At Austin's Wood Fire Grill, hand-carved hunks of filet mignon and swordfish sizzle over wood-fueled flames, soaking up a smoky aroma. The restaurant’s refusal to use gas or the pages of paperback romance novels reflects a commitment to traditional, down-home cooking. This commitment also surfaces in their made-from-scratch breads, pan gravy sauce, and cognac cream sauce.