My family have been fans of Bangkok Restaurant for over a decade, so I wasn’t surprised when my dad asked to celebrate a recent birthday there. After all, where else can you enjoy deliciously authentic Asian dishes from five different regions?
A visit to Bankok Restaurant is akin to a culinary tour of the far east. If you like grilled marinated meats, you’ll be drawn to the North Country, while fresh noodle dishes with strong hearty sauces showcase flavors most common in Burma, Laos, and China. There’s also a healthy dose of curry, giving a nod to India, and Cambodian influences such as Bangkok’s rich coconut curries, salad and stir fried meats surrounded by crisp, ripe vegetables. You can also savor the tastes of the Southern and Coastal areas of the far east, with fresh fish and shellfish delicately prepared in the spirited style of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
With all those flavors to enjoy, it was an extra treat that five of us celebrated my dad’s birthday, meaning more dishes to sample for each of us. Woot! Woot!
Every time we go to Bangkok I’m reminded of the incredible work put into the elegantly appointed dining rooms (there are two of them) and all the intricately carved wood booths and table tops, artwork, silk pillows and graceful flowers. If the aroma wafting from the kitchen didn’t tell you that you’re in for an international treat, the decor certainly does!
Being that it’s Dad’s birthday, he decided to start with the combination appetizer, which featured 2 crispy spring rolls, 2 crab rangoon with a sweet-n-sour sauce, 2 crispy wontons stuffed with marinated ground pork, and 2 Goong Tod (shrimp in a blanket). He intended to share with the table, but none of us wanted to take food off the plate of the birthday boy.
My brother Shawn is one of those people that finds a dish he likes and tends to order it every time. So he knew, probably days before our visit, that he was going for an order of the Crab Rangoon, which features crab meat, cream cheese, green onions and tasty spices wrapped in a wonton and flash fried until hot and crispy. Crab Rangoon are such a classic, done to perfection here, and always served with a sweet-n-sour sauce.
Mart had his eye on the Tom Kha soup with fresh shrimp as his chosen protein. This aromatic soup is served in a cup ($3.75) or a pot ($10.50) so you can order it for a starter or your entree. Either way, you’ll relish the sweet coconut broth, mild yellow onions, sweet bell peppers, galanga root, scallions and magrut leaves seasoned with lemongrass and fresh lime.
Tom Kha is just a delightful soup. We look for it at every Thai restaurant we’ve been to and have always been pleased.
Like my brother, I have a go-to favorite – the Nam Sod Salad with ground pork surrounded by mild yellow onions, cilantro, ginger root, and peanuts tossed in a chili-lime dressing that packs just the right amount of heat! You can order Nam Sod with chicken instead of pork, but either way . . . I’m drawn to such big flavor packed into a crisp, fresh salad.
My mom isn’t one for spice or anything with gluten in it, so she was drawn to the Thai Sweet and Sour Stir Fry, served over her favorite Jasmine rice. While we played with spice and peppers on our entrée choices, she happily dined on stir fried carrots, tomatoes, mild yellow onions, red and green bell peppers, crisp cucumbers, celery, and fresh chunks of pineapple in a tangy sweet and sour sauce. While I’m normally more adventurous, I admit that her dish tasted as good as it looked.
Dad and Shawn both ordered the Thai Crispy Duckling, which is essentially a half duckling that’s been marinated in Thai spices and sauce, then slowly roasted until it’s fall off the bone delicious. Served with a side of fresh vegetables, and a savory dipping sauce, both the birthday boy and my brother were fully satisfied with their entrée.
I’m typically torn between a ginger based entrée and a curry one, but once I read the description for Pad Prik Coconut, I chose to go with this naturally spicy dish. Choosing shrimp as my protein, this dish featured sweet red and green bell pepper, yellow onions and fresh bamboo shoots sautéed with a touch of coconut milk that was flavored with basil leaves and an Issahan-style red curry paste. I loved the crispness of the vegetables with the blend of spices in the broth.
Mart ordered the evening’s special, a whole Pompano seasoned with Thai herbs and a delicate ginger sauce. Served in a fish shaped china dish, the Pompano was (naturally) an exact fit for the plate.
For dessert, Bangkok served my father a special birthday surprise, an order of rich and creamy coconut and cappuccino ice cream surrounded by crispy golden medallions of tempura fried banana topped with honey, sesame seeds, and crushed peanuts. We were all provided spoons to help him finish the dessert, which was a good thing! This was a plate full of wonderful.
While it’s always a treat to share time with family, especially in celebrating a birthday, and impeccably served wonderful food, it was also abundantly clear that a full dining room, the ringing of the telephone, and the almost endless line of bagged take-out orders ensures that Bangkok Restaurant will itself celebrate many, many more birthdays!