It's easy to make any dish vegetarian at Roy Thai. Chefs reimagine almost every entree around veggies, such as bamboo shoots, eggplant, or kaffir lime leaves. This includes numerous curries and spicy-sweet stir fries. But that doesn't mean they leave meat-lovers in the lurch—plenty of their Thai staples come loaded with beef, pork, chicken, or seafood. There are even two sections of the menu devoted to duck (try it deep-fried or roasted) and seafood (including crispy whole fish and a hot pot of shrimp).
As its name suggests, two halves create Full Moon Asian Thai Restaurant. On one hand is a vibrant, bustling dining room that would not feel out of place in Manhattan. The sounds of lively chatter pervade the open space, hanging over rows of wooden tables where napkins stand upright on plates like swans engaged in staring contests. This electric atmosphere juxtaposes neatly with the quieter corners of the restaurant, where eyes are drawn to elaborate woodcarvings and ears perk up at the sound of water burbling across bricks and sandstones imported from Thailand.
This fusion between West and East—between fast-paced and meditative—carries over to the Zagat -rated restaurant's menu. Sweat-inducing spices strike a balance with the sweet flavors of papaya in colorful curries. Similarly, crushed peanuts and handpicked bean sprouts lend a pleasant crunch to the rice noodles of a traditional pad thai dish. Purple- and orange-tinged lamps dangle above guests as they sample the spread of Thai cuisine, giving them the appearance of tigers at a black-light rave.
Geranium red walls and a seemingly endless supply of fresh Thai orchids contribute to the serene ambiance at Reka’s Thai Restaurant, where the kitchen staffers create classics of royal-style cuisine. With a focus on subtlety of flavors, they fuse both imported ingredients as well as those from local merchants when creating dishes like Escargot Thai Style, Green Papaya Salad, Crispy Duck with Crispy Kale, and Wild Boar Jungle Style, all of which are plated with an artful flair. To complement the leisurely dining style, chords from a classical guitarist permeate the dining room on every Friday and Saturday evening.
Tom Yum's seasoned Thai chefs create authentic Thai dishes using trademark Thailand spices. The ingredient roster also extends to such flavor-enhancers as ginger, basil, and coconut milk, the kind of milk least likely to come out of a cantaloupe. Along with traditional rice, curry, and noodle dishes, they flame-grill and sauté exotic specialties, including a lobster pad thai and barbecue chicken with papaya salad.
Chef Ben sharpened his knives at the French Culinary Institute before slicing and chopping his way through meals at Siam Thai Restaurant. Each day, he builds platefuls of fried rice flavored with chili peppers, onions, and sweet basil. In other dishes, black-bean sauce coats rice noodles and marinated beef skewers dunk into a peanut sauce. A selection of imported Thai beer completes meals, served in a dining room decorated with Buddha statues and a pair of purple carved swans.
Named for one of Malaysia's states, Penang Malaysian & Thai Cuisine reflects the diverse history of that region in its eclectic bill of fare. The menu sates appetites with a selection of more than 100 dishes, all showcasing a blend of Chinese, Malaysian, and Thai spices and cooking techniques. Appetizers of roti canai—crispy Indian-style pancakes served with curry-chicken dipping sauce—might share table space with Malay beef satay, marinated in spicy peanut sauce and skewered on bamboo sticks. The house special, Thai basil chicken, serves up chicken with bell peppers, onion, and chili in a tasty Thai basil sauce.