If two heads are better than one, then four cuisine-noggins fused into one restaurant-body are even more better-er than one. Polycephalify your palate with today's Groupon: for $12, you get $25 worth of Pan-Asian fare and drinks at Tin Drum Asia Café, an epicurean hybrid that expands palates by merging them. This Groupon is good at Tin Drum's Lindbergh, Dunwoody, or Forsyth locations.
Tin Drum takes its name from the tin drummer—a figure in ancient Asian society who served as the town crier, newscaster, and wake-up-call service. Rising early every morning to rouse the village with a percussive version of taps (or a bucket of hot grits thrown to the face if villagers hit Snooze too often), the tin drummer would herd everyone to the market café. As they ate, he'd regale them with the day's news, act out and explain the day's Far Side, then present them with a series of jumbled words to decipher. Tin Drum's interior reflects this ancient tradition with a décor that mimics the colorful paint and ubiquitous posters of an outdoor café in a quintessentially Asian streetscape.
To help its casual clientele fit right into this tableau of exotic everydayness, the restaurant's menu of favorite Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese dishes apes a typical newspaper layout. Light lunchers can pair coconut soup ($3) with the chop-chop salad, a mix of romaine, tomato, carrot, crispy noodle, and sesame dressing with optional grilled or crispy chicken ($2.95–$6.95). Otherwise, keep one hand open for a spicy-dousing Thai iced tea ($1.95) or a hot jasmine or green tea ($1.50) while the other clutches a Drumroll ($4.75)—a grilled Asian-flatbread wrap stuffed with ingredients such as shrimp tempura, romaine, avocado, tomato, and honey-miso dip. Diners who feel self-conscious about the wooden chopstick fingers they accidentally evolved can light up their taste buds with Japanese katsu curry, which bathes crunchy panko-crusted chicken breast in a sizzling yellow curry laden with onion, carrots, potatoes, and jalapeños. Meanwhile, mango stir-fry ($7.95) mixes fresh mango, onion, bell pepper, basil, and jalapeños over crispy chicken and steamed rice ($7.95) for a sweet and spicy flavor explosion that challenges General Tso for dominion of your Tongue Dynasty. Tin Drum also offers a variety of gluten-free options, so treat a friend to an exotically flavored vacation from their own dietary restrictions with today's Groupon.
- Great quality, fast, and filling Pan-Asian food at a very affordable price without all the hassle of having to wait on a server for everything. – matthews4898, Zagat
- The entire menu is great. Make sure you walk in with a good appetite because the portions are HUGE!!! Perfect noodles every time! – Cord C., Urbanspoon
Tin Drum Asia Café
At first, Tin Drum Asia Café's rapid service and bright decor evoke the aromatic street stands of Hong Kong, where founder Steven Chan ate throughout his childhood. The traditional ambiance is no accident—the franchise's name also harks back to a bygone era, when a tin drummer would awaken citizens and regale them with current events as they ate the day’s first meal. The electronic kiosks dotting the café, however, plunk this traditional scene in the middle of a cyberpunk setting. They allow patrons to customize their orders based on taste preferences and nutritional content, accommodating dietary endeavors such as vegetarianism and weight-loss goals.
This merger of technology and urban convention reflects a penchant for edgy ideas that also affects the menu. Items inspired by the culinary techniques of Japan, China, Vietnam, and Thailand share space in the savory catalog, taking the form of street tacos, soups, and mango chicken, a take on the general tso's staple that's sweeter than a syrup-soaked army helmet. Music is the final ingredient that charges the atmosphere. Nation's Restaurant News reports that it typically plays at an energizing 120 beats per minute and was a factor in attracting the café's initial college crowds.