On the surface, Thai Topaz is a classic Thai restaurant featuring bright and flavorful dishes boasting tamarind, mangoes, lime and basil leaves, ginger, and hot chilies. But there is more to the eatery than an adventurous menu. Thai Topaz is, above anything else, the testament to a loving and long marriage and the product of long-revered family traditions.
Husband-wife owners Somchai and Jiraporn Namarsa combine their diverse backgrounds in engineering and biology to create a menu rooted in healthy living and innovation. By updating old family recipes taught to them in Thailand, the couple eschews the deep fryer and heavy pours of oil in favor of more nutritious cooking methods, such as using minimal oil and not cooking with ice cream. Their flavors come from their own supply of garden-grown herbs, including lemongrass, basil, mint, and kaffir lime leaves.
David Thanairongroj is the owner of the 2177 NW Military location. David and his wife are the son-in-law and the daughter of the original location's husband-wife owners Somchai and Jiraporn Namarsa. The Thanairongroj are carrying on the family tradition with a new location and more modern decor.
The chefs at Sizzling Wok amass the flavors that epitomize Asian cuisine, then compile them into quick, customizable combo plates for guests to enjoy in-house or on the go. Appetizers such as cheese rangoons, egg rolls, and traditional soups can be washed down with steaming cups of hot green tea or a cold glass of soda before plates of kung pao chicken or mongolian beef arrive with a choice of rice or vegetable lo mein. Chefs can also accommodate guests on specialized diets, guiding them through the choices that comply with gluten-free, vegetarian, or soy-sauce-only diets.
The culinary couriers at Fire Wok dispatch delicious parcels of fresh, made-to-order pan-Asian provisions in a comfy, casual setting. The diverse menu takes tongues on a tasty tour through all fourteen levels of the USDA food pyramid, from the savory veggies of the Singapore rice noodles ($5.99, $6.99 with chicken or beef) to the exotic coconuts, pineapple, and raisins of the Malaysian curry ($7.29 vegetables or tofu) and the fresh-squeezed flavor of the lemon chicken ($7.29). Crush peanuts and hunger pangs with the savory pad Thai ($5.99, $6.99 with chicken or beef, $7.99 with shrimp or scallops), or set maws delectably ablaze with the Peking Fire ($7.29–$8.59).
At Thai Bistro & Sushi, fresh ingredients, herbs, and traditional recipes combine into one delicious meal after another. Consistent in flavor but modest in appearance, the eatery has built a loyal following with dishes such as the drunken noodles?a stir-fried mix of flat rice noodles, broccoli, onions, and tomatoes?and basil fried rice. Diners can also flip the menu over to discover more than 25 classic and innovative sushi rolls such as the Texan Roll, which tops spicy salmon and avocado with crab and tempura flakes. Yet people come in for more than the food. On karaoke Fridays, visitors flock to the mic in order to belt out their favorite songs and sign autographs for their imaginary fans.
Thai Topaz has been in business for nearly a decade, but the path it took to get there was much, much longer. Somchai and Jiraporn Namarsa, the husband-and-wife team behind the restaurant, have picked up and moved numerous times, first from Thailand to Tennessee, then Wisconsin, then Texas. This was all in service of one desire: to support their daughter Somjira in her journey to becoming a doctor. Once Somjira was officially Dr. Namarsa, the family finally settled in San Antonio to open Thai Topaz.
Though the owners often call on generations-old recipes for their sauces and entrees, the key to the menu at Thai Topaz is change. As new dishes are discovered, less popular ones are retired. This leads to a dynamic menu that, like letting a crayon-wielding toddler loose on an art museum, strikes a pleasing balance between traditional favorites and original creations. Stand-bys such as pad thai and panang curry share space with unique dishes such as emerald salmon swimming in green curry and fresh avocado. The dessert menu is also respectably large, with treats ranging from sweet sticky rice with mango to homemade coconut ice cream.
Inside Mon Thai Bistro & Sushi, chefs sauté and fry authentic Thai dishes alongside the skillfully slicing, quick-rolling hands of sushi virtuosos. Dinnertime diners can feast upon a plethora of specialty dishes, such as the pla mauk pad prik with sautéed squid, basil, and vegetables ($14.95) and the spicy Devil’s chicken, stir-fried with Asian herbs, coconut milk, and cabbage ($12.50). Pair spicy Thai cuisine with raw delectables from the sushi menu, choosing between maki rolls ($4–$6.50), hand rolls ($3.00–$5.50), and specialty rolls ($7.50–$12.50). All lunch entrees start at $6.50 and are priced according to their protein; with options such as steamed or fried tofu ($6.85), chicken ($6.95), beef ($7.50), mussels ($7.95), and sea scallops ($8.25). Peruse Mon Thai Bistro & Sushi’s fresh menu of curries, orange chicken, kung pao beef, and stri-fry to witness a culinary harmony unseen since the California Raisins dominated the airwaves.