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 chili 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 two astronauts hugging on Mars. Fusion dishes include Chinese staples such as sweet-and-sour sauce.
From the elegant and elephant-arted confines of their new Southaven restaurant, Bangkok Alley’s Thara and Dottie Burana keep the fresh fish swimming into their lunch and dinner dishes, where they morph into schools of sushi and Thai concoctions both creative and traditional. Starters such as the shrimp hompa—which envelops its shrimp with golden-fried panko and sweet-and-sour sauce ($6)—irrigate parched mouth-deserts to create an inviting climate for the seafood keow han, a mélange of shrimp, scallops, and the fish of the day served in green curry with basil sauce ($20). Otherwise, silence the howls of were-stomachs with heartier fare such as a grilled strip steak and panang sauce served with grilled asparagus and squash ($20), or a panang curry underscored with a coconut base and garnished with chopped Kaffir lime leaf (up to $14 with choice of protein).
Chef Pri’s gustatory adventures meet at the intersection of Thai specialty dishes, American comfort food, and international influence. Tables play host to artfully wrapped Japanese sushi and curries accented by pineapple and butternut squash. Chicken or shrimp cozy up to stir-fried noodles, and for heartier food, Chef Pri piles pot-roasted duck infused with cinnamon atop a sautéed spinach and garlic chili sauce.
The restaurant’s dining room exemplifies the same modernity found in the menu, with coal-black ceilings and geometric artwork against mustard-hued walls. Burnt yellow lights hang like glowing champagne glasses above Jasmine’s fully stocked bar, where diners can retreat for a cocktail or wine by the glass.
Soft, colored light beams out from beneath the elegant sushi bar at Mandarin Moon, where skilled sushi chefs prepare traditional and specialty rolls. Lobster tail, spicy tuna, and salmon inhabit the gleaming glass case alongside more unexpected ingredients, such as duck and grilled steak. Between mouthfuls of sushi and sashimi, diners at the dark-wood tables and chairs can feast on classic Thai dishes, Chinese food favorites, or the envy of guests who didn't order the crab rangoon.
If the building's exterior looks as if a pagoda landed atop a house, that might be a good clue that delicious Japanese cuisine is served inside. The fresh sushi rolled inside Fuji San earned it two Nappie Awards in 2011 from the readers of Lagniappe magazine for Most Underrated Restaurant and Best Sushi. Fuji San also won for Best Sushi in 2012 and 2013. Besides the artful rolls, the kitchen crafts Japanese dishes including teriyaki and tempura combination dinners and shabu-shabu hot pot entrees. It also recently introduced a Thai menu full of classic eats, including pad thai and red and green curries.
Seated at Rice Asian Grill & Sushi Bar's teal booths, diners dig into plates of Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. Specialties range from artistically plated sushi to entrees such as sizzling basil stir-fries, creamy curries, and flavorful, crisp-skinned Thai barbecue chicken.