At Baisi Thai—whose fusion menu melds Japanese and southeast Asian fare—the staff takes presentation seriously. Sushi chefs decorate rolls such as the Rainbow Dragon, Green Turtle, and Caterpillar to look like their namesakes, with caviar eyes and vegetable horns. Bartenders fill cocktail glasses with neon-green Baistinis and other mixed drinks and, in the kitchen, curried noodles collide with stir-fried veggies and traditional Thai basil. The airy, spacious eatery, located at the Oakbrook Center mall, is striped with translucent space dividers, and avenues of thin, vertical reeds sway between orange columns and UN delegates researching models for international flavor cooperation.
Though the chefs at Thai Linda Cafe 2 like meals spicy, they also aim to please customers by customizing each entree's intensity with spice levels that range from mild to incendiary. Housemade peanut sauce, lime leaves, and aromatic ginger also lend their distinctive flavors to the menu of familiar Thai staples, which includes pan-fried noodle dishes, curries, and roasted duck. To accompany its complexly seasoned cuisine, the BYOB eatery invites diners to either bring a bottle of wine from home or bring along a bootlegger who can distill their green tea into moonshine.
On the Michelin Bib Gourmand list from 2011–2012 for gourmet value, Thai Village excites palates with traditional Asian cuisine, including many vegetarian options. Behind the restaurant’s carved wooden façade is a bright, exposed-brick dining room with a pressed-tin ceiling and walls speckled with ornately framed art. During warm weather, the restaurant’s outdoor patio allows guests to mingle spicy tastes with no-holds-barred staring contests against the sun.
“Food can’t lie. If I tell you it’s good, but you taste it and it’s not good, it won’t be good,” says Nori’s owner Tom Kammaty. “If you make good food, it’s always successful.” This simple philosophy has led Tom and his staff—including his brother Tony and Head Chef Yo Yothin, who hails from Thailand—to curate a creative menu of sushi, maki, and dinner platters. Inside, an open-air sushi bar offers glimpses of the chefs hand-rolling each selection, lavishing diners with a more entertaining culinary show than an all-snowcone production of The Iceman Cometh as they savor a variety of hot tea blends or sip on their own BYOB imbibables.
The chili reds and basil greens of Thai cuisine create splashes of color inside the confines of Silom 12, where white-brick walls and a shadow-box-style bar evoke the atmosphere of Bangkok’s work-hard, play-hard Silom district. The Southeast Asian menu includes both Old- and New-World dishes, as well as some from the off-world colonies. Glass, egg, and rice noodles wrap around meat and vegetables, often crowned with aromatic sauces such as panang curry and black-bean gravy.