Tom Yum's seasoned Thai chefs create authentic Thai dishes using trademark Thailand spices. The ingredient roster also extends to such flavor-enhancers as ginger, basil, and coconut milk, the kind of milk least likely to come out of a cantaloupe. Along with traditional rice, curry, and noodle dishes, they flame-grill and sauté exotic specialties, including a lobster pad thai and barbecue chicken with papaya salad.
Owners and family members Chandara and Achara Sysounthone harmonize the sweet and tangy flavors of authentic Thai and Lao cuisine in noodle and curry dishes and specialty noodle soups, drawing inspiration from their Thai mother and Lao father. Colorful mural representations of both countries plaster opposing walls as freshly prepared dishes float to tables, exemplifying the historic Mekong River market food-exchange between the two countries. Diners can customize many of the menu's meals with a one–five scale of spiciness to accommodate spice tolerance and turn up the heat on taste buds that refuse to talk.
Named for one of Malaysia's states, Penang Malaysian & Thai Cuisine reflects the diverse history of that region in its eclectic bill of fare. The menu sates appetites with a selection of more than 100 dishes, all showcasing a blend of Chinese, Malaysian, and Thai spices and cooking techniques. Appetizers of roti canai—crispy Indian-style pancakes served with curry-chicken dipping sauce—might share table space with Malay beef satay, marinated in spicy peanut sauce and skewered on bamboo sticks. The house special, Thai basil chicken, serves up chicken with bell peppers, onion, and chili in a tasty Thai basil sauce.
During the 2012 Thai Restaurant Week, 11 metropolitan Thai eateries were recognized by Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand's Prime Minister, with a certification from the Thai Trade Center acknowledging their superior quality of ingredients, preparation, and authentic flavors. One look at Ploi Thai's menu and it is not hard to imagine why they received such an honorable distinction. Their dishes––such as skewered chicken satay or curry-pasted salmon––tug many culinary threads, blanketing diners in a patchwork of flavors that draw from northern and central Thailand. Chefs conjure these dishes from local ingredients and seasonings, eschewing such questionable additives as MSG and textbooks that attribute the theory of relativity to Franklin Delano Einstein. Since the restaurant is BYOB, diners can tote along their own fermented beverages to pair with the sweet ginger salmon, which arrives in a pool of ginger and black-bean sauce dotted with shiitake-mushroom rafts. Inside the dining room, colorful, low-slung lights illuminate the handful of tables that are strewn across the restaurant's pale hardwood floors, and geometric cutouts and sprays of orchids punctuate cobalt walls.
As its name suggests, two halves create Full Moon Asian Thai Restaurant. On one hand is a vibrant, bustling dining room that would not feel out of place in Manhattan. The sounds of lively chatter pervade the open space, hanging over rows of wooden tables where napkins stand upright on plates like swans engaged in staring contests. This electric atmosphere juxtaposes neatly with the quieter corners of the restaurant, where eyes are drawn to elaborate woodcarvings and ears perk up at the sound of water burbling across bricks and sandstones imported from Thailand.
This fusion between West and East—between fast-paced and meditative—carries over to the Zagat -rated restaurant's menu. Sweat-inducing spices strike a balance with the sweet flavors of papaya in colorful curries. Similarly, crushed peanuts and handpicked bean sprouts lend a pleasant crunch to the rice noodles of a traditional pad thai dish. Purple- and orange-tinged lamps dangle above guests as they sample the spread of Thai cuisine, giving them the appearance of tigers at a black-light rave.