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).
The deep-fryer aficionados at Town Fryer dish up an eclectic array of succulent snacks, meals, and desserts. Turn hissing bellies into purring lap-sitters by noshing on Town Fryer's organic and hormone-free chicken wings (three wings with a choice of bird's nest or hand-cut french fries for $5.27). Increase seafood intake in hopes of growing gills with the catfish sandwich ($3.67+), or stay land-based by gnawing on the hand-dipped corn dogs ($1.83+).
Pho Vietnam Restaurant offers a menu full of authentic Vietnamese cuisine that blends traditional flavors such as earthy basil, sour tamarind, and moderately spicy jalapeño. Open up the appetite with a sautéed quail and garlic-butter combination known as chim cut ($6) and encounter various flavors of pho, Vietnam’s oft-lauded and generously garnished beef and rice-noodle soup ($6.95 regular, $7.95 large, $8.95 extra large). Those who eschew broth can toss back some noodly chow mein or low mein ($12.95–$13.95) and a helping of the battered crispy squid that makes up muc chien don ($14.95). Coat spice-specked throats with a fruity bubble tea ($4), or finish off the night with drinks at a bar guarded by a Buddha statue and a sticky-rice-flinging monkey.
Wadfords isn’t exactly a bar and grill—it bills itself as a “grill and bar,” and the variation on a familiar formula indicates the neighborhood hangout’s attention to the food as well as the drinks. A team of three chefs oversee the grill, using it to produce juicy burgers, Caribbean chicken, French-cut pork chops, and steak filets, which they refuse to cook well-done. Along with pouring from a diverse wine list, mixologists blend a candy store’s worth of sweet flavors into 17 specialty martinis, including flavors based on Almond Joy bars, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and a mystery blend promising “Jagermeister . . . and other surprises.”
High ceilings and exposed ductwork give Wadfords a bit of industrial chic, but below them is a space designed for community, with long, central rows of tables that make it easy to get the inside scoop on a neighbor’s plate of crab cakes or make sure the bartender didn’t give someone else a bigger wedge of lime. Sports games on TVs behind the bar and, on Wednesday–Saturday, live music curated from around the region provide further avenues for socialization.
Back Yard Burgers serves up North American Black Angus burgers hash-marked to order on genuine flame-licked grills. Third-pound patties dress for dinner with lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, dill pickles, and a condimental trio of ketchup, mustard, and mayo ($3.59). Or gussy up for patty prom with premium add-ons such as coleslaw, chili, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, and more ($0.35–$0.60 per topping). The grill masters also flip the first white meat, prepping Hawaiian chicken sandwiches with grilled pineapple, mustard, mayo, and lettuce ($4.09). Away from the flames, feel free to enjoy a loaded baked potato ($2.79) and a wide range of pairable plates such as chili cheese fries ($2.59 for regular size), garden salads ($2.19), and sweetly baked fruit cobblers ($1.99).
Hailing from humble beginnings in a renovated Mississippian gas station, McAlister's Deli has revolutionized the concept of fast food with healthy fare recognized by Parents in 2009. Premium ingredients, such as Black Angus roast beef and black forest ham, pile upon stuffed potatoes or artisan bread, sating hungers and silencing stomachs before they recite bank-account numbers. As patrons wait for servers to deliver meals, they sip signature sweet tea, swirled together onsite daily from pure cane sugar and a rainforest-certified black-tea blend as dictated by a closely guarded recipe.