Though its food can be fiery, the atmosphere at Mai Thai Restaurant is decidedly cool. Its photographs of serene beaches create a tropical vibe, complemented by sheer curtains billowing between tables and lights twinkling from inside strung netting. Even appetizers of coconut shrimp and crispy calamari transport diners to a scenic shoreline.
Those hoping for something spicy aren't left adrift, however. The staff increases the heat in each dish depending on what number the diner gives them on their spice scale. Those preferring milder fare can ask for a 0-spice plate, while the truly adventurous can select the maximum 4-spice option, or simply ask for their meal served inside a bottle of sriracha sauce. Flavorful curries also follow a spectrum of spiciness, from the sweet Patpong panang to the more intense Bangkok green. And house specialties employ heat in a more literal way?the volcano chicken, for example, arrives sizzling atop a bed of vegetables with plum sauce.
The Thai Lotus kitchen comes alive at mealtimes, when chefs roll up their sleeves and begin preparing fiery noodles, garlicky stir-fries, and creamy red, green, and yellow curries. The aroma of fresh herbs fills the air as the chefs whip up Thai specialties like volcano chicken and sweet basil duck. The versatile chefs also extend their culinary expertise toward a variety of Chinese and Vietnamese dishes, including tangy orange chicken and simmering pho noodle soups. As the chefs labor in the kitchen, their guests perch on tufted booths, sipping fruity bubble teas and imported beers.
More than 2,500 miles separate Japan and Thailand, a fact that is made apparent by their cuisines’ contrasting values—an adherence to clean, simple flavors on the one hand, and complex mélanges of fragrant herbs and spices on the other. Embracing both sides of this spectrum, Bangkok Tokyo’s menu features an extensive selection of fiery and savory curries as well as freshly sliced maki and nigiri.
Ornately wooden screens with curlicues of carved vines and leaves free the aromas of spices, sweet basil, and coconut milk to drift between booths. Beneath lavender walls and intricate woodcarvings, diners slip chopsticks into noodle-tangled bowls of chicken, shrimp, stir-fried vegetables, and curry. As the clatter of plates and conversation gives way to happy sighs, Thai Hut's dessert roster parades out thai custard and fried bananas, which work well as punishment for children who do too much homework.
Noodles & Company's cooks unite a diverse menu of Asian, Mediterranean, and American fare with the common thread of the noble noodle. The friendly cooks speedily serve each order, which deliciously bridges the gap between convenience and fine dining with casual fare and a strictly enforced dress code of flip-flops and tuxedos.
TJ Thai and Japanese Steakhouse?s chefs slice and dice fresh ingredients over hibachi grills in dishes pulled from lunch and dinner menus that include more than 15 traditional sushi rolls. Grill masters craft flame-kissed shrimp, new york strip steak, and mahi-mahi dishes as diners look on, supporting main courses with an entourage of veggies and fried rice. Chefs bundle up compact sushi rolls, including spicy crab jalape?o and vegetable tempura, and pack Japanese lunch with california rolls, fried dumplings, and the ghosts of juice boxes past.