Drawing on 25 years working in prominent Thai restaurants, owners Oddy and sister, Kanchana, have lined Thai Cafe's menu with recipes from their home digs of Bangpoo––a village southeast of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. Striving always to balance the four basic Thai tastes of salty, sweet, sour/bitter, and hot, the duo also instills a precise flavor profile through meticulous knife work. Finely cutting ingredients into smaller pieces ensures seasoning coverage, stir-fry crispness, and an ego boost for the self-conscious baby corns.
Butter-hued walls prepare senses for yellow-, red-, and green-curry dishes insulated with tender morsels of chicken and beef. Skilled sushi artists slice sashimi and form hand rolls from yellowtail and tempura shrimp, and chef specialties dispatch from the kitchen with Thai barbecue, crispy catfish, and roasted duck––many of which have been left to marinate or cook overnight. Thai Cafe also conveniently represents each dish's spice level by placing two red peppers beside hot dishes, three beside Thai hot dishes, and an invisible pepper beside secret-recipe dishes for the eatery's magician clientele.
Bangkok Thai's chefs cull flavors from the four major regions of Thailand to draft a menu exemplifying the nation's myriad culinary traditions. Bulk up for couch-lifting contests with the protein-rich chicken pad thai, hosting a helping of egg and white-meat chicken alongside bean sprouts, ground peanuts, and scallions in a nest of rice noodles ($10.95). Spicy red-curry duck bastes with pepper and pineapple in a coconut-milk-based curry ($15), while vegetarians avoid meat altogether with the thai cashew-nut dish—a stir-fried symphony of scallions, bell pepper, and carrot alongside tofu ($10.95). Bangkok Thai's special lunch offers a choice from 16 main dishes (such as pad-thai noodle with shrimp or sweet-and-sour chicken), a drink, and one of seven sample portions, including edamame and fried tofu ($8)—the latter, a favorite of health-conscious heat particles.
Lemongrass Thai Restaurant’s extensive, authentic menu is filled with Asian appetizers and entrees with a distinctive Thai-chili kick. Acclimate taste buds to the fiery fare with a starter of crispy fried calamari with chili dipping sauce ($6), allowing eaters to customize spiciness by the bite, or step up the mouthgame with the spicy grilled duck panang ($15), duck breast prepared spicy, very spicy, or extremely spicy and topped with creamy curry, green beans, and carrots. Seafood lovers can experience Southeast Asia’s distinctive take on soft-shell crab, with golden-fried crab in a spicy basil sauce ($18). Lemongrass’s offerings also include authentic Thai entrees that feature heat-free flavors, such as classic pad thai noodle ($12, stir-fried rice noodles with shrimp, eggs, tofu, and crushed roasted peanuts in a sweet-and-sour tamarind sauce).
The multitalented chefs at Café Asia Raleigh draw culinary influences from all over Asia as they devise a menu of cooked entrees and artfully rolled sushi. While sitting in black leather booths or at cherry-wood tables, diners catch whiffs of alluring aromas coming from the kitchen, where culinary wizards conjure up shrimp tempura appetizers, miso soups, and noodle and rice dishes, including lobster pad thai and chicken teriyaki served with steamed vegetables. Flavors from the ocean star in the restaurant’s sushi selection, which includes rainbow rolls with five types of fish and spider rolls with soft-shell crab, avocado, cucumber, and scallions.
Hibachi Sushi's menu teams up traditional Thai dishes, hibachi fare, and sushi hand-rolled to order in a comfortable, casual setting. Guests can kick-start meals with a vegetable spring roll ($1–$1.09) or an order of eight cheese crab wontons ($3.99–$4.99) before continuing culinary journeys with a large hibachi steak and shrimp plate, served with fried rice and sautéed veggies ($8.49–$9.99). A large order of classic chicken pad thai takes taste buds to Thailand ($8.99), and octopus nigiri ($1.99) or dragon rolls stuffed with eel, crab, and cucumber ($8.29) paired with Japanese green ocha tea launch diners on bite-sized ocean odysseys. Today's Groupon is not good for alcohol, and vice versa, as evidenced by the time it woke up in a strange bathtub folded into inappropriate shapes.