Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bangkok Bistro: Thai Food at its Best

I am rather reluctant to write this food blog because I don’t want to reveal this hidden gem to the Boston Food World-at-Large.

Bangkok Bistro: Thai Cuisine. Do not be fooled by the restaurant’s décor. Outside the restaurant is pink. Inside, the walls are a turquoise green, there are fish tanks everywhere, pictures of Bangkok, etc. Endure this, and you will be rewarded with the best Thai food I have ever tasted. Seriously.

If you can make it to the restaurant for lunch (they are not open for lunch on Monday, but these specials apply for the weekend as well), then you should order off of their lunch specials menu. For $8.95 (the price has gone up recently) you get a bowl of Tom Yum Soup (the best version of the soup I’ve ever had), an entrée and a side appetizer. Even at $9 it is still worth it.

Even though I’ve had the Tom Yum Soup multiple times, every time I eat it I am still hit by the spices and immediately have a coughing attack that lasts for a minute exactly. But I can’t help myself…the soup is too good to let a little tickle in my throat stop me. The lunch version of the soup contains 2 pieces of chicken and 1 shrimp. If you order it separately you can specify chicken or shrimp and then you get more meat. They add mushrooms right before serving and, even though I’m not really a mushroom fan, I love them in this soup. A tip if you are ordering this soup to take-out is to ask them to include the mushrooms on the side and then they do not shrivel up in the hot broth! I know my stuff.

For the appetizer sides, I highly recommend three: the spring rolls, the golden triangles, and the chicken wings. The spring rolls are crunchy and delicious…but after one of them I am usually satisfied. So what I like to do is ask for 1 spring roll and 1 golden triangle: the best of both worlds! The golden triangle is also crunchy but contains a vegetable puree inside that nicely offsets the sweet dipping sauce it is served with. While the chicken wings look very similar to a chicken wing you would order at a Chinese restaurant, the spice rub they add gives them a unique taste—I would say a little curry and a little cumin might be used.

The entrée portion at lunch is nicely sized. I have 2 favorites—Pad Thai and Yellow Curry with either beef or chicken depending on my mood. The Pad Thai is slightly sweet and contains big pieces of chicken and small shrimps. They do not overload it with too many peanuts or bean sprouts—something I appreciate very much. The Yellow Curry is served with a generous portion of rice. The sauce contains potatoes and pineapple. Mostly I order the yellow curry because I like the pineapple and potatoes it comes with—there are many other curries (red, green, masaman, basil, “wild wild wild,” choo chee, mango, panang…) and they are served with other vegetables (eggplant, peppers, bamboo, onion, carrot, baby corns).

I love the people that run Bangkok Bistro. I frequent the restaurant so much that they have come to recognize me when I come in. Their customer service is wonderful, and on occasion, they have provided us with a sampling of some of their favorites dishes: their shumai (shrimp dumplings) are tender little bites of goodness, the satay (both chicken and beef) are well flavored and come with cucumber sauce and peanut sauce. Tip: If you order the Bistro Sampler you get the best of all of their appetizers. Finally, their Thai iced tea (although too sweet for me) is a favorite with many other visitors.

I have also been to the restaurant for dinner, and while you don’t get the same deal as the lunch special, the food is just as good at night! My advice for dining there at night is this: bring a friend or a date who will have a good sense of humor about the décor, order the Tom Yum Soup (if you cough like I do when you eat it, it will be a great ice breaker), order a sweet dish and a spicy dish (they can make their drunken noodle dish VERY spicy on request) and share a great evening of food and fun!

Bangkok Bistro gets an A.

Bangkok Bistro on Urbanspoon

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