For 18 years, David Fliger lived the life of an adman, traveling the world and eating fine foods. But inside the Thailand-born foodie lurked a restaurateur, a seed perhaps planted by his mother, Nicha, who also left a career in advertising to start a restaurant. Today, Nicha and David work together in the kitchen of Latitude Eight Thai Grill, named after a region in southern Thailand known for fresh seafood. This regional specialty is reflected in the menu’s ocean-centric dishes, such as crab fried rice, grilled halibut, and garlic prawns. Servers stride from table to table, recommending dishes and wine pairings inside what Phoenix Magazine dubs a “modern and minimalist” dining room. The dark wood floor and tables serve as a stark contrast to the white banquettes and walls. Spotlights illuminate an oversized piece of art that’s textured to resemble rolling waves or a wall made out of pasta.:m]]
PaPaYa Thai Restaurant’s chicken mango curry won Best Thai Curry 2009 by Phoenix magazine. It brims with the bold, sweet, and spicy flavors of coconut milk, mango, and red-curry paste, further enhanced by sweet basil, lean chicken, and bell peppers, each shaped like a life-size Stanley Cup. It’s testament to the carefully crafted dishes typical of PaPaYa, which serves traditional dishes that alternate between sweet, sour, and salty flavors and feature no MSG. The barbecue grill adds crispiness to chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, and salmon, each plated beside thai sticky rice and sides of sweet chili dip or spicy lime sauce. Most dishes can be made vegetarian on request, and PaPaYa’s attentive waiters encourage patrons to pick their preference of spiciness, ranging from mild and medium to thai hot.
Thai cuisine incorporates an endless range of tiny chile peppers, coconut milks, basil, and other ingredients. Thai Buffet’s chef and owner Lumjuan (Joanne) Ritdej, originally from Puntangchai, Thailand, draws upon 50 years of experience to bring those building blocks together into brightly hued and adventurous dishes. Lemongrass and other herbs may lend their flavor and color to green curries, while pumpkin contributes a sunset palette to red curries with beef. The buffet sprawls across the dining room during mealtimes, and sandwiches brim with American or Thai ingredients.
Chao Urban Asian Eatery takes its name from the Chao Phraya, a major river in Thailand that runs through Bangkok. The eatery's modern decor incorporates weathered woodwork and patinated metals meant to represent the humble fishing boats that line the river's shore. Sporadic accents of cerulean blue and a half wall topped with sprouting plants complement the sleek, clean look, which is mirrored on the outdoor patio. Seated under twinkling lights, guests can make sure that their favorite star is still in the sky while sipping cocktails around the stylish fire pit.
Chao Urban Asian Eatery's menu also takes a contemporary approach by featuring a mixture of Thai, Japanese, and Chinese dishes that change according to what's in season. Items may include traditional grilled chicken teriyaki and pan-fried pork dumplings, as well as creative Thai-style crab cakes served with sriracha aioli and short ribs braised in a spicy peanut curry.