Long, colorful booths unite dining parties at Heng 2 Thai Bistro, accentuated by an expansive wall-size print of an Asian street scene and filled with the scents of traditional Thai ingredients. Steaming beside menu starters of satay and spring rolls, vegetarian entrees sample a rabbit’s shopping basket for garden-fresh ingredients such as eggplant, broccoli, and string beans. Meaty entrees are categorized by preparations, such as sautéed and curry, and summon patrons to choose from more than 10 proteins, which run the gamut from chicken to squid knee. After plates are cleaned of basil- or ginger-infused bites, desserts such as fried ice cream offer patrons a blast of hot and cold without requiring them to ski into an active volcano.
The culinary crafters at Thai Palate skillfully flavor traditional and contemporary thai soups, curries, and seafood inside an intimate restaurant. The space's dark magenta walls, flat-screen television, and mural of blossoms surround diners as they devour dishes filled with lemongrass, basil, and pineapple. Glass noodles slip into soups, whole red snappers swim across plates, and a rainbow of curries complements spices and bamboo shoots.
Under a pristine alabaster wall ornamented with a mural of swirling red flowers, diners at Ideal Thai explore a menu of authentic Thai cuisine. Chefs sauté bouquets of vegetables and spices in woks, then bedeck noodles or fried rice with tilapia, duck, and pork. Dollops of sauce made from tamarind, garlic, or black pepper further enhance each dish's rich taste.
Chilly blue neon lights announce the entrance of ViV Bar & Restaurant, where chefs send delicate Thai fare into a lounge cast in sleek lights reminiscent of Bangkok’s evening skyline. Silver light fixtures shine a spotlight onto dishes of thai sausage fried rice and tender duck, pineapple, and bell peppers bathed in red curry sauce. From behind a marble bar, mixologists sling drinks that range from imported beers and sake to cocktails composed of fruit pulp, spirits, and not-from-concentrate ghosts.
Inside a cozy interior enhanced by exposed-brick walls and track lighting, the Thai waitresses at Bangkok House don traditional garb and welcoming smiles as they top white-cloth-draped tables with a menu of authentic Thai dishes. Homemade corn salad surrounds the fried-crab-cake appetizer ($7.95), and a quintet of noodle dishes ($9.95–$10.95) ensnares veggies, meats, or shrimp in starchy pools. House specialties include broiled salmon in verdant curry sauce ($15.95) and sizzling duck enhanced with spicy thai chili sauce, oyster sauce, bell peppers, and onions ($16.95). The chefs at Bangkok House simmer and stir-fry dinners until 11:30 p.m. to accommodate post-theater appetites and late-night spring-roll jugglers.
Traditional Thai dishes get a bold, modern twist at One Thai Chef, where culinary veteran Taweewat Hurapan artfully plates entrees for lunch and dinner. Panang curry gets an update with the addition of tender lobster meat, and glasses of fresh lychee juice pair with beef short ribs braised in massaman curry. Hurapan serves his signature roasted duck with bao buns that are round and fluffy, just like the tiny pillows upon which ancient kings rested their forks between bites. Chefs apply equal attention to desserts, which they adorn with caramel drizzles and fresh fruit.
Amid sleek wooden tables and framed panels of Asian floral artwork lounges Alpha Fusion, a Manhattan eatery that serves cuisines from Vietnam, Thailand, China, and Japan atop artistically crafted plates. Menu offerings such as vietnamese mango-vermicelli salad and thai crispy crab cakes blend with sushi morsels and light and healthy lunches such as sautéed mixed veggies, representing the most successful pan-Asian fusion since the Second Sino–Japanese Sock Hop.