I love Thai food, and I love spicy food, so Bangkok Cuisine in Live Oak (NE suburban San Antonio) is a favorite. I tried it shortly after Chef Nuch opened her doors in 2002 and I still eat there at least a couple of times a month. More than once, this restaurant has been the Express-News critics choice for Best Thai Restaurant in the San Antonio area, and for good reason. In an area where we are fortunate to have a number of good Thai restaurants, Bangkok Cuisine stands out for the freshness of its ingredients and the high standards maintained by the kitchen. I like to sit at Table 5, against the wall and under the pictures of the Thai royal family, so the photo below is my usual view of the rest of the restaurant:
During my last visit, it was lunchtime. I began, as usual, with an order of spring rolls. I prefer the vegetarian rolls, filled with glass noodles and chopped veggies and fried to golden brown perfection, then served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce that has bits of red pepper for a little heat. These rolls always arrive piping hot from the kitchen.
Every lunch special begins with a bowl of soup. As this was Saturday, the soup was a version of chicken and rice, with added vegetables. It was pretty good.
For my lunch entree, I chose the spicy salad with beef. It was almost 100 degrees outside, and the salad looked good and tasted better. Strips of grilled beef were combined with cilantro, Thai pepper, green and red onion, tomato, and sliced cucumber, and served on a bed of iceberg lettuce. The dressing was light and vinegary, and had just the right amount of heat. The accompanying white rice was molded into the shape of a star. The beef was flavorful and tender, and the veggies were very, very fresh.
Also on the menu is Thai fried rice. My dining companion ordered the pork version and was very pleased with it.
The fried rice had a good number of tender pieces of roast pork, and the rice had obviously been really fried or grilled, not just boiled and combined with ingredients. This very full plate made for a substantial lunch entree. Just as I love spicy food, my companion does not, and the waitress made sure the food’s spiciness, or lack thereof, was acceptable.
The spicy salad is one of my favorite dishes. I also love the red curry, the pad Thai, and the mixed vegetables. Any of the dishes can be made vegetarian; for meat eaters you can usually choose from beef, pork, chicken or seafood for each entree.
For dessert, you have to try the homemade coconut ice cream. I like mine with sticky rice, but with or without, the ice cream is excellent — rich, creamy and full of coconut flavor. It was perfect on a hot day, and it didn’t last long enough for me to remember to take a photo; I am beginning to realize that I keep forgetting to take pictures of my desserts, usually because I am too busy eating them.
The service at Bangkok Cuisine is usually good, but I have been there some evenings where the tables are all full and the staff is busy trying to serve everyone and fill numerous take-out orders, so I suggest patience. The food is worth it.
You can view the Bangkok Cuisine menu on the restaurant’s website: http://bangkokcuisinesa.com/.