I could go on waxing poetically (actually no I couldn’t – it’s my husband that’s the poet in the household) but let’s talk more about the wonderful food and congenial servers that make dining at Bangkok Bistro such a wonderful experience. Let’s start with dinner and work our way backwards through the all-day menu, for Bangkok Bistro is unusual in that it is an all-day Thai restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Kick off your experience with an appetizer, for the selection is vast, reasonably priced and well-prepared. Soups are an excellent choice, and a real bargain. The miso is light and flavorful and only $3 for a good-sized bowl. Other options range in price, depending upon your protein choice, from $5 for tofu to $8 for seafood, and include such classics as wonton, creamy tom yum, spicy coconut, or bok choy (and these are just the starter soups, there’s a whole other menu section for entrée soups).
Salad options range from a simple house salad to standard green papaya, to the surprising crispy papaya. I ordered the crispy papaya expecting a healthy dish with green papaya tossed in a rice-wine vinaigrette but was amazed to see strands of battered and deep-fried fruit. It may have been a surprise, but it was a delightful one and has become one of my favorite dishes. Both versions of the classic Thai salad feature shredded green papaya, dried shrimp, roasted peanut, garlic, tomato, green beans and steamed shrimp lightly bathed in a piquant Thai lime dressing.
The selection of cold and hot apps is vast and truly enough for a meal on their own. Hot choices include a yummy chicken lettuce wrap, mussels or scallops served with a spicy creamy sauce topped with crunchy flakes, grilled or fried squid, chicken wings, satay, Bang-Bang shrimp and shrimp or pumpkin tempura.
A must-try are the BKK Fries, topped with special sauce, Japanese seasoning and sliced seaweed. And those are just the hot apps, which range in price from $5 to $12. The cold options are even more inventive and run the gamut from crispy salmon skin (sort of like chicharron) to a tower of cucumber, avocado, tempura flake, spicy tuna and masago.
When it comes to entrees, Bangkok Bistro has the expected dishes for traditionalists with vast listings of rice and noodle-based dishes, curries and stir-fries. No matter which starch and sauce you opt for, the price is determined by your choice of protein; chicken, tofu or veggie will run you $13.50, beef, crispy pork, pork belly, shrimp or squid are a buck and a half more, while scallops, duck, crab or mixed seafood vary in price from $16.50 to $22. Sauce options include; garlic pepper, curry, sweet and sour, ginger, basil, cashew and pumpkin, all delivered in your choice of mild, medium, medium hot, spicy or Thai spicy. I like spicy food and the regular spicy was almost too much for me, so make your selection accordingly. It’s always better to go less spicy and add more from the condiments at the table.
For less adventurous diners, there’s fried rice, teriyaki and sushi rolls – both cooked and raw. I want to go back and try the entrée soups. The ones I find most intriguing are the duck noodle soup, Alaskan noddle soup, seafood tom yum and the ramen.
The lunch menu offers smaller portions of many of the dinner menu’s dishes served in a combination with soup and a pot sticker (for an additional buck you can add a spring roll - personally I don’t think it’s worth it). Try the pad Thai or the
pad see ew (other than the shape of the noodle and the only difference is that pad see ew doesn’t have peanuts). The lunch specials are about $12 each. For lunch (or breakfast) I prefer the dim sum platter which offers a choice or any three of the following; fried or steamed pork or beef gyoza, shrimp shumai, crispy chive cake, mini chicken or shrimp buns or satay. The dim sum deal is about the same price as the combo plates.
Those stopping in for breakfast can select from a variety of different egg and meat combos, most familiar to Western palates, or you can try something new; jook, a typical breakfast in Thailand (as well as much of Asia). Jook is a savory rice stew served with a poached egg, fresh ginger, scallion, cilantro and garnished and side of crispy noodle. Meats and vegetables are often added. At Bangkok Bistro the choices include; bok choy, sesame shrimp, shiitake mushroom and stir-fry pepper steak with onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. For those seeking something lighter, smoothies and juices are also available.
Service is always friendly, if sometimes not the most polished or efficient. Try to get a table served by Mubarak and you won’t regret it. He is always eager to please. He tends to your every need and is by far the most polished server. Wine and beer are available and, while the selection’s not vast, like the rest of the menu, it is reasonably priced. In fact, Bangkok Bistro is such a wonderful and well-priced place, I may stop cooking all together, especially if Mubarak can serve me.
1527 N Federal, Fort Lauderdale
How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
I love thee for serving morn, noon and night
For dim sum, curries and miso so light
For your servers with smiles upon their faces
And food that’s spicy in the right places