I love Thai. I mean I really love it. I could eat it everyday and not get bored. I especially love green curries... mostly for the coconut milk in them. yummie yum yum. So... I scanned the menu for all things curry and green and mouthwatering... only to be so very confused as to what I should order. Everything is spelled a little different... but after a few minutes I could see what's what.. so I re-read the menu. I settled on some green curry basted Sa-Tay chicken to start (you get 8 sticks) and my favorite bean curd green curry with rice, rounded out with a nice thai beer (ok so I had 2) and I was ready to settle into something really sensual. Be sure to wear clean socks and non-stinky shoes. No, really. You'll be glad you did. So will everyone else.
Favorite Dish: The tables, at first look, seem to be on the floor. Am I going to have to sit on a cushion and cross my legs under me or something? Nope... the tables are recessed into the floor. Walking up to the squatty table made me a little nervous... I wasn't prepared to go crawling on the floor in a skirt, thank you. But, as it turned out, all I had to do was kneel and sit and my feet were magically under the table in the recessed space... I felt like I was 5, table up to my chin (I exadurated the whole feeling, just because I was alone and feeling silly), swinging my legs like I've no worries, making bored noises.
Now Thai food, as almost all asian food, is supposed to be shared. On this particular day, I was adventuring alone so the price for one person may seem high (about $36 USD) but I also brought home enough food to share with two other people and we were all full. The food itself didn't blow me out of the water, it was good as Thai goes, but not spectacular. The thing that did push it from good to WOW! was all in the atmosphere and presentation. Everything (except your own dishes) is served in traditional Thai serving pieces... and not the Pier 1 knock-off/asian dollar store crap either... real silver rice servers and a clay pot nestled in a bamboo warmer for the curry veggies.
While the food steamed in front of me, I raised my eyes up to heaven and breathed it all in. It is so good to be alive when you have your favorite food before you... then I noticed the ceiling. And all the little Thai carvings all over everything. The lighting, the window looking out into the garden (where the staff would come out and stand for a minute, possibly having a moment of Zen), the chimes, the colors, the smells... heaven must be this.
By the time I left, there were other people in the resturant so I had to be a bit more grown-up about things. Getting up in a skirt after 2 beers, knowing all the silly stuff I was doing when no one was looking and still maintaining some kind of feminine dignity... now that was a challange.
Go to Khan Toke more for the decor than the food, though the food is fine. Upon entering, you must remove your shoes. You are then seated on pillows and eat at low tables surrounded by woven tapestries and carved teak Thai statues. The food is quite inexpensive, though the service can be uneven and street parking is always difficult.
Favorite Dish: I always order the chicken larb (minced chicken with red onion, mint and cilantro) and the tom yom goong (shrimp and mushroom soup) here.
In accordance with custom, you'll be asked to remove your shoes before being seated on cushions at sunken tables. Surrounded by lavishly carved teak, exotic Thai statues and intricately woven tapestries, you'll almost imagine you've left the city behind. On a nice day, dine in the garden out back--and get a whiff of the herbs used in Khan Toke's complex dishes.
Favorite Dish: Once you settle in, start with a bowl of tom kha gai, a mild chicken soup cooked with young galangal (Siamese ginger) and coconut milk. For your appetizer, order yam pla muk, tiny squid mixed with fresh greens, hot chilies, lemon grass and mint leaves. Follow that with the deep-fried pompano topped with sauteed ginger, onions, pickled garlic and yellow bean sauce.
The atmosphere is very unique from the time you walk through the front door. You take your shoes off and leave them at door. The tables are beautiful carved ones from Thailand. You sit on the floor on pillows around the tables.
Favorite Dish: All of the food is excellent from the appetizers to the main course.