Wednesday, April 4, 2012

THAI

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Bangkok House
4698 S. Whitnall Ave.

This is the spot for Thai purists. Flavors are less spicy, a bit sweeter, and oh so right. The squid in the spicy salad is cooked to perfection and the shrimp curry has a sauce made in the house. The beef with been sprouts soup is superbly seasoned. It's tops for Thai in the area. (J.B.) RS. Handicap access. 482-9838.


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. 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.) $$. CC. Handicap access. 256-2927

King & I
830 N. Old World 3rd St.

One of the first Milwaukee Thai restaurants, King & I remains a good deal more upscale and a touch more expensive than the more casual-minded Thai eateries that have joined its company, with a chic, open layout that leaves the kitchen visible from the dining room. The 65-item menu includes most Thai staples, including noodle dishes and curries, as well as some interesting entrées, like a yellow curry and mango chicken dish prepared with bell peppers and cherry tomatoes. The default flavor of most dishes is mild, making this restaurant a good starter for diners new to Thai cuisine. A weekday lunch buffet draws a large crowd. (E.R.) $$$ CC. RS, FB. 276-4181


Mai Thai

1230 E. Brady St.

The candlelit bar is filled with woodwork and rattan chairs. Mai Thai'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). (J.B.) $$. CC. 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. RS. Handicap access. 541-1234


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. Beer and wine. Handicap access. 962-8851.

Thai Bar-B-Que
3417 W. National Ave.

A photo-intensive menu makes ordering easy at Thai Bar-B-Que, a clean and cozy dining room nestled near several other Asian restaurants on National Avenue. Curry dishes are exceptional here. The traditional red and green curries, served with choice of meat or tofu, are loaded with fresh, colorful vegetables and the aroma of fresh herbs. For something more exotic, try the Kang Phed Ped Yang: roasted duck, eggplant, tomatoes and pineapple in a spicy red curry sauce. Service is attentive and refreshingly unrushed, with a loquacious wait staff that chats at length with regulars and newcomers alike. (E.R.) $$. CC. RS. 647-0812.


Thai Lotus

3800 W. National Ave.

The menu at Thai Lotus looks beyond Thailand to also include Chinese and Vietnamese specialties like pho, steak kow and egg foo young. The Thai dishes, some of which can be sampled during a lunch buffet, tend to be spicier than their counterparts at Thai restaurants closer to downtown. Seafood dishes are a specialty here, with options including curry catfish (lightly fried and served with eggplant and peppers in a ginger-curry sauce), fried squid, shrimp in the shell and scallops. There is also a large selection of bubble teas and smoothies. (E.R). $$. CC. RS. 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. RS, FB. LB. Handicap access. 224-7076


Thai-namite

932 E. Brady St.

Thailand and Japan meet in this hybrid menu. The Japanese items are mainly sushi and sashimi while the Thai are a bit of everything. The place is small and the setting contemporary and casual. The Thai food is not too spicy but a bit sweet. The fish cakes and tom yum soup are sure bets. There even is a Brady St. roll made with spicy tuna and tempura crumbs. The beverage selection is limited but there is beer, wine and sake. (J.B.) $$. CC. OD. Handicap access. 837-6280.