Two Thai reviews
If you're a fan of Thai food, you may be interested in the following reviews. I'd certainly be glad to hear some suggestions from other folks, particularly on new restaurants. I've tried Surin, Tamarind, and a few others.
So, I've been meaning to tell you all about Thai Diner, which is definitely one of my local favorites. I've had nearly half the items on their menu at this point, and I can say after repeated visits that they put out a consistently delicious product. I've never had anything there that wasn't good. For those who remember the great Bai Tong and its glory days, this comes very close indeed. I'll confess I haven't tried whatever's moved into Bai Tong's former location. I believe it is a Thai restaurant, too, and I have no idea if the Bai Tong owners just changed the name for some reason or exactly what the circumstances are.
However, we're talking about Thai Diner, and if you're in the Perimeter Mall shopping area, there's no better Thai food around. Their masaman curry, their basil rolls, their soups, even staples like their pad thai are all seasoned with thoughtful attention to striking a balance between satisfying both adventurous and timid palates. The decor is attractive: dark woods and understated neutral fabrics provide a warm, intimate backdrop for diners; the gentle New Age music (plenty of Enya) played is a subtle enhancement, rather than a distraction. The staff is reserved but pleasant, and efficient without being intrusive. Prices are reasonable, and I generally have leftovers to enjoy later. Thai Diner is in the same location as Ocean Palace, the Borders/Wal-Mart shopping complex nearest Perimeter Mall. Highly recommended.
In the opposite direction on Ashford Dunwoody is another Thai restaurant: Thai Lanna. If memory serves me right, it's where the Purple Cactus Cafe used to be. The atmosphere is somewhat more spartan than that of Thai Diner, but here and there are cute touches like a tree in the middle of one of the dining sections that's covered with playful stuffed monkeys. Vegetarians will probably be pleased by the fact that there's an entire section of the menu dedicated specifically to meatless dining options. However, our overall impression was "decent, but not great." I like cilantro, but my tofu dish was redolent with it, to the point that the other flavors were overwhelmed. My husband fared no better with his chicken entree. Also, portions, while adequate, were not generous. One serving, no leftovers, and the basil rolls we had as an appetizer were downright skimpy. Additionally, our meal was actually a bit more expensive than our typical bill at Thai diner. Considering the fact that we generally each get our own order of basil rolls there, rather than splitting them as we did at Thai Lanna, I'd say that probably adds up to around $7 over our usual average. Not a big deal, but if you're interested in value for your dining dollar, Thai Diner is a much more satisfying experience. The one thing I can recommend at Thai Lanna other than their attention to vegetarians is their Thai iced tea. No need for a refill: their huge, oversized glasses should satisfy the thirstiest drinker. They definitely don't skimp on those!
If I were in the neighborhood, I'd probably be willing to give Thai Lanna another chance, but since I'm not at that end of Ashford Dunwoody very often, I'll gladly stick with the option that's closer to my end, and that has proven to be dependably outstanding for over a year. I'm never ashamed to take my out-of-town guests to Thai Diner, because I've never been disappointed.