I visited The Bangkok Oriental restaurant on New Year's Eve and appropriately ate drunken noodles. The thought made me smile. Actually, the whole restaurant did. Tired after a long day of work, I found the restaurant to be a welcome respite — calm and serene; beautifully decorated with photos of Thailand, religious statues, Thai artifacts, and even musical instruments.
My waiter, “Mo,” was professional and kind. He served me jasmine tea in a classic china teapot with an elegant matching cup engraved with a drawing of a tiny bird. I always find it interesting that I can drink tea at an Asian restaurant, but it never tastes the same at home.
Mo was knowledgeable about all of the food and readily shared his customers' favorites along with his own.
I perused the menu and chose the Bangkok Oriental sampler appetizer. Within minutes, Mo delivered the large plate of mixed goodies – spring rolls, dumplings, “shrimp in the blanket,” coconut shrimp, chicken satay, fried green beans, and fried candies, accompanied by several dipping sauces. For $14.95, this is an excellent appetizer for a small group. The chicken was tender and flavorful, and all of the other items were crisp, not at all greasy, and infused with just the right amount of wonderful Thai seasonings. The spring rolls were especially tasty, with thin ribbons of carrots, bean thread noodles, and cabbage with homemade sweet-and-sour sauce. The fried beans were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and the coconut shrimp had a sweet aftertaste. The fried “candies” were crispy meat-filled wontons. All of it was scrumptious.
Other tempting appetizers include onion petal and Thai fish cakes. The soups also looked inviting, especially the tom yum (lemongrass soup) or the tom kha (coconut milk soup).
One of Mo's suggested favorite entrees, the pad kee mao (drunken noodles), outshined most if not all of the food I've tasted in the last year. Served hot, this dish was a blend of thick, flat noodles stir-fried with broccoli, tomatoes, baby corn, Napa cabbage, carrots, red bell peppers and snow peas, all in a chili garlic sauce with fresh Thai basil. Not only was it a fabulous blend of texture and tastes, but it was also colorful. Offered additions included beef, chicken, pork, tofu, shrimp or a seafood combination. I chose shrimp, and it was perfectly steamed.
There are three levels of heat you can choose, and even the lower level had a kick. But the heat was wonderful with the savory, garlicky sauce with just a touch of sweetness. The flavors literally burst in my mouth – the fresh, soft tomatoes; crunchy snow peas; crisp peppers – all of those textures made this a genuinely pleasurable meal.
Following the advice of the online reviews about sticky rice with mango, I placed my dessert order, along with an order of Thai iced coffee. The sticky rice was an experience. The plump pillow of soft, warm, sweet rice, combined with the refreshing tang of the fresh mango, was magnificent. Strong, with heavy cream and a touch of spice, the Thai coffee was a perfect accompaniment to the dessert.
Originally from Thailand, members of the kitchen staff pride themselves on serving authentic Thai food, choosing fresh ingredients, and preparing all of the sauces in-house.
The menu selection is large with many tempting curries, unique salads (papaya salad, bean thread salad), stir-fried rice dishes, and an assortment of other entrees such as crispy duck pad ped, crisp whole fish, eggplant, and many types of meat and seafood dishes. Prices are reasonable, with most entrees running about $14 or less.
Carryout or eat-in options are available. This restaurant is a delight; perfect for a date night or time with family and friends.
Photos by Mary Cobbler