It’s a chilly night, you’re broke because of the holidays and you want a fabulous flavorful meal. Head to Little Bangkok on Cheshire Bridge Road, voted best Asian by Creative Loafing. This is one of Atlanta’s original Thai restaurants and is a perfect little dive on the eclectic “Bridge.”
Little Bangkok has been open for 17 years. It’s another circumstance of gays leading the food trends in Atlanta. Now Thai is on every street corner. If you had a gourmet grandmother who was Thai this would be her place. It’s decorated in kitschy far eastern décor with laser fast precision service. There is usually a wait and no waiting area but the line moves fast.
Little Bangkok has excellent specials like the soft shell crab or whole fried fish, but I’m a creature of habit and tend to gravitate toward my comfort favorites. Start with the classic basil rolls with thin rice paper, shrimp, and glass noodles dipped in the Asian BBQ-like hoisin sauce.
Next move on to the Larb, which used to be very unique. Now Larb is ubiquitous, but Little Bangkok still does it best with minced chicken and fiery spices cooled off in a soothing lettuce wrap.
But here is why you go to Little Bangkok. They have the best Tom Ka Soup ever. Y’all, this is not low fat coconut milk. It’s very old school and served in a circular pewter bowl with a lump of that hot flaming “lava” at the top. It looks like one of the ‘70s pu pu platters you saw in a James Bond movie.
I want to swim in the thick, rich coconut broth spiked with thai chilies and lemon grass, chicken, green onion and mushrooms. Have a shot of sake and this soup and you’ll feel pure bliss. My favorite curry dish is the shrimp masaman.
I order it spicy with shrimp and chicken, which has rich curry and coconut “gravy” which I ladle over classic sticky rice. The masaman is a rich amalgamation of shrimp, chicken, avocado, cashews and potatoes, enrobed in a decadent spicy layered sauce — again you have to ask for spicy. Kind of like at a gay bar — ask for spicy and you get it.
Little Bangkok also serves lunch and a killer Thai coffee that will give you a zingy energy buzz so don’t drink them at night like I did or you might be up till 3 a.m.
Souper Jenny in Buckhead has a constant rotating menu of scratch artisanal soups and if you catch Jenny on the right day you’ll have the chicken noodle soup of which dreams are made. Permanently on the menu is her Chunky Turkey Chili. It a very healthy bowl full of protein and fiber so you’ll keep that New Year’s resolution.
Jenny also concocts bowls of art like Mayan Chicken topped with avocado, tortilla chips and lime, and vegetarian winter root veggie topped with maple chipotle creme fraiche. They are usually open just for lunch and offer sandwiches as well.