Few diners are aware that pad Thai actually originated as a mid- century design movement, characterized by the modern bachelor's penchant for linear curves and fish-sauce wall treatments. Dabble in delicious designs with today's Groupon: for $15 you get $30 worth of Thai cuisine at Bangkok 96 in Dearborn. You can redeem your Groupon after 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, or anytime between noon and 10 p.m. on Saturday.
Voted best Thai in Detroit by CityVoters in 2008 and 2009, and now leading CityVoter's 2010 poll, Bangkok 96 offers authentic Thai fare at affordable prices. The restaurant's chef and owner, a native of Laos, provided craft services on the set of Gran Torino, proving Clint Eastwood does not sustain himself by disengaging his jaw and swallowing eggs whole. All of the menu items can be prepared according to a diner's heat tolerance, anywhere from one to four chili peppers' worth of spiciness. The menu also deems both tod mun (minced chicken dressed with Thai curry and cucumber sauce, $5.50) and chicken satay skewers ($7.95) "the most famous Thai dish," setting up a dramatic gustatory rivalry in which your mouth wins.
Heaping plates of pad see ew (sautéed rice noodles with broccoli, fried egg, and chicken, beef, pork, or vegetables, $9.95) and Thai fried rice, peppered with chicken, shrimp, peas, carrots, peapods, broccoli, cashews, and onions ($11.95), offer familiar favorites with plenty to take home. For something a little more distinctive, tender Bangkok flame duck arrives adorably adorned with baby corn, mushrooms, water chestnuts, broccoli, bamboo shoots, and carrots ($14.95), and the seafood combo combines glass noodles and mixed vegetables with red snapper, squid, shrimp, and other fruits of the sea imported from far-away Neptunian orchards ($14.95).