The spice specialists at Royal Thai Restaurant flip, season, and sear a variety of vibrant ingredients to craft a vast menu of classic Thai eats. Groups can practice learning to share by distributing an order of crispy spring rolls and, once everyone has gotten a fair lot, celebrate by dousing each other in wonton soup. Each helping of Thai-style barbecue chicken arrives at tables festooned in a pickled-garlic sauce. The conga line of zesty flavors continues with the red-curry chicken, before foursomes are allowed to cool down by noshing the ginger beef with mushrooms and onions or by rubbing their cheeks against a block of ice. Various teas are available for sipping and, following the dinner, Royal Thai Restaurant's selection of chocolate, strawberry, or coconut ice cream act as a sweet reward for tongues.
Thai Jasmine Restaurant's chefs bring advanced skills, honed at a restaurant in Thailand, as they dish up a bounteous menu of traditional and modern Thai favorites, with spice levels calibrated to each guest's preference. Diners can send a letter of intent down the esophagus with starters such as steamed thai dumplings—wontons filled with ground chicken, shrimp, crab meat, mushrooms, and cilantro, then dished with savory roasted garlic and seated atop a sweet-soy-sauce dunk tank ($6.95). Well-spiced curry selections come with a choice of add-ins, from faux duck to mixed seafood, and pad khing, a fresh ginger stir-fry, hits the pan along with yellow and green onions, as well as three types of mushrooms competing for the affections of a suave black-bean sauce ($8.95–$13.95; varies by protein). Chefs immerse moo yang, or barbecue pork, in thai spices and mixed herbs before charcoal-broiling it and nestling it atop a bed of lettuce with sweet-and-sour sauce ($8.95). Seated at granite-topped tables, diners slurp up noodle dishes loaded with shrimp, squid, or mixed sea eats ($10.95–$13.95) and gaze admiringly over sumptuous Thai sculptures and artwork.
Bright yellow and orange walls, with sparse decorations and the occasional Buddha statuette, enclose guests at Thai Cottage. Here, chefs continue the eatery's tradition—which is more than a decade old—of creating authentic Thai fare in a family-friendly atmosphere. The menu catalogs specialty dishes such as deep-fried spring rolls and Pad Prik King, a mix of long beans, kaffir lime, and rice in coconut milk and red curry. And a full bar allows guests to enjoy a Sam Smith IPA or a Toasted Head chardonnay sourced from an in-state vineyard. These smooth libations can be called upon after patrons try some of Thai Cottage's spiciest fare, which, as The Sacramento Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson wrote in a review of the restaurant, "…was runny nose in July hot, chug-a-lug the water hot, take out a lighter and put the flame to your tongue hot."
Compact and maneuverable, tuk tuks—motorized rickshaws—dart through the narrow streets of Bangkok with ease, helping drivers to flit through traffic jams and around obstacles. Tuk Tuk Restaurant's chefs honor their namesake with nimble knife-work in the kitchen, where zingy spices pervade complicated Thai dishes. Seasonings such as tamarind, lemongrass, ginger, chili, and lime dapple stir-fried and curried meats and vegetables, and twirls of noodles entwine with basil and radishes. Waiters transport steaming plates to the high-ceilinged dining room, where a white-on-white image of a tuk tuk presides over tables.
The executive chef at Sabaidee Thai Grille prepares a deliciously authentic menu of Thai and Laotian dishes that emphasize regional specialties and simple ingredients. Seafood dishes such as seasonal grilled heavenly crab with thai spices ($15.95) or grilled shrimp salad with tomato, cucumber, red onions, and cilantro ($10.95) fulfill cravings for international flavors without inconspicuously licking a customs agent. Bean-curd aficionados may slurp the tofu-laden tom kha soup with coconut milk, ginger, kaffir lime, and cilantro ($5.95). Diners can customize the panang curry ($9.95) or radna ($8.95), a mélange of flat noodles, egg, and broccoli in brown bean sauce, with a choice of chicken, beef, pork, tofu, or shrimp (+$2), allowing folks to stick to their vegetarian, pescetarian, or contrarian diets. Sabaidee's extensive dessert menu tempts sweetness fiends with delectable treats such as thai crepes stuffed with seasonal fruit ($5.95) or house-made pineapple ice cream with lavender sea salt ($4.95).
Chefs at Thai Chef’s House use fresh ingredients and traditional cooking techniques to highlight the five flavors most prevalent in Thai cooking: spicy, sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. In each dish, they endeavor to strike a balance between all five flavors—spicy red and green curries are laced with sweet coconut milk and charbroiled pork comes with a dish of sweet-and-sour dipping sauce. The setting is authentically Thai as well—the dining room is filled with trinkets and oxygen shipped in from Thailand.