Friday, April 9, 2010

THAI

Metro Milwaukee Dining Guide

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EE-Sane

1806 N. Farwell Ave.

The main menu is an extensive list of Thai items, with noteworthy options such as the fresh spring rolls and curries with more character than usual. But the more interesting menu focuses on Lao specialties. There are green papaya salads (not vegetarian) and meat salads with names such as larb, namtok and koi beef. Dishes are spiced at a scale of 1 to 10. Few dare to venture above 7. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: All major. Beer and wine served. RS. Handicap access. 224-8284

Hong Thai

6425 W. Greenfield Ave.

While the menu rarely strays from Thai standards the preparation is distinctive. The soups have broths that are more delicate, the spring roll wrappers are light and airy and the Hong Thai curry is prepared here. (Most restaurants use commercial curry pastes.) The décor is a bit spare but the setting is comfortable and the service hospitable. This is definitely a cut above standard Thai fare. (J.B.) $$. Credit cards: MC,VS. Handicap access. 256-2927

The King & I

830 N. Old World Third St.

The menu at this Milwaukee favorite starts with standard fare such as pud Thai, spring rolls and spicy meat salads. Many of the entrees get the “volcano” treatment— chicken, shrimp, steak or a whole red snapper served on a sizzling cast-iron platter with fresh vegetables and a sweet chile sauce. Weekdays still offer the popular lunch buffet, as well as a reduced menu of appetizers, soups and entrees. (J.B.) $$. CC: All major. FB. Handicap access. 276-4181

Mai Thai

1230 E, Brady St.

The candlelit bar is filled with woodwork and rattan chairs. Mai Tha’s spring rolls are named after the seasons—Spring and Fall are the best. Tod mun (Thai fish cakes) show the kitchen at its finest. All the usual curries and noodle dishes are here at prices just a bit higher than normal (the setting compensates). For a splurge try the pan seared sea bass. The one with ginger sauce with ground pork is a Thai treat. (J.B.) $$. CC: All major. FB. Handicap access. 810-3386

Singha Thai

2237 S. 108th St.

Tables are covered in rich, royal purple linens; entrees are served on blue-and-white hand-painted plates. Singha is the only Thai restaurant in the city that serves hou mok pla: fish filets layered over a bed of Thai basil leaves and cabbage, wrapped and steamed in a fragrant coconut milk curry with undertones of hot pepper. It’s quite unlike anything else on this extensive menu. (J.B.) $$$. CC: All major. RS. Handicap access. 541-1234

Singha Thai Restaurant II

780 N. Jefferson St.

The popular Singha Thai Restaurant has added a second location Downtown on Jefferson. Selections remain numerous, with all of the curries and noodle dishes one would expect. It also features the unusual; recommended are the charcoal chicken, succulent in a sweet sauce, and the hou mok pla. (J.B.) $$. CC: MC, VS. Handicap access. 226-0288

Taste of Thai

315 E. Wisconsin Ave.

Thailand meets Japan on a single menu. The Taste of Thai has the charm of a teakwood house with the added bonus of a small sushi bar. The appetizers focus on Japan although soups and entrees veer toward the Thai side with the usual curries and noodle dishes as well as a whole red snapper. Edamame and gyoza meet pad thai and pineapple fried rice. Prices are higher than normal for Thai, about normal for Japanese. The thoughtful service and setting compensate. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC: All major. Handicap access. 297-9994, 297-9995

Thai Kitchen

2851 N. Oakland Ave.

This small restaurant has an extensive menu of Thai standards. Skip the curries, which are merely average, and instead opt for tod mun, an exquisite appetizer of fish cakes. Tom yum goong is a fine example of this spicy/sour shrimp soup and the som tum (spicy papaya salad) is a textbook example. The prices are moderate appeals to the students and faculty of nearby UWM. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: MC, VS, AmEx. Beer and wine. Handicap access. 962-8851

Thai Bar-B-Que

3417 W. National Ave.

The menu combines items from Laos and Thailand with good results from both countries. The menu is also extensive, a long read. There are many options. Start with satays or grilled meatballs. The spicy salads are all in fine form. The setting is casual but nice, the staff warm and friendly. (J.B.) $$. CC: MC,VS. 647-0812

Thai Lotus

3800 W. National Ave.

The Thai Lotus combines Thai and Chinese with a few accents of Vietnamese and Lao. The decor is modest in what was once a corner diner. The draw is the kitchen, with specialties like princess stuffed shrimp served on a sizzling platter and an authentic beef larb Lao, minced with tripe and spiced to order. The extensive menu offers nearly 140 different items to choose from. (J.B.) $$. CC: All major. Handicap access. 431-8489

Thai Palace

838 N. Old World Third St.

The gilded Thai decor sets the stage for fine curries, soups and Thai salads. Tod mun—fish cakes—are a good start. Nam sod is a gingery pork salad. The restaurant also serves a good lunch buffet. (J.B.) $$. CC: All major. RS, FB. Handicap access. 224-7076

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