Thai cuisine has always been one of my favorites so I was thrilled when SOI4 Bangkok eatery opened its door at the SHOPS Gainey Village, close to the office. SOI4 puts a modern face on a type of cuisine that is steeped in tradition. At first glance, SOI4 Bangkok Eatery resembles the type of restaurant you might see inNew York City: long, a bit narrow and with plenty of cool, industrial influence, as seen in the concrete flooring and shiny metal tables. The space is anything but cold, though. The eatery is warmed up with a lively bar area, gorgeous lighting and interesting, quirky art pieces, including a large white chicken head (which isn’t as scary as it might sound).
Though the design is lovely, the same effort is put into the cuisine. Two highlights from the small plates menu include the pan-fried shrimp-and-pork dumplings and the pan-fried Indian bread with grilled skirt steak. The former dish will please any palate, including those who might consider Thai food to be too daring or too spicy. These delicious pockets of meat and shrimp have been crisped, so they offer a little crunch, and are best when dunked in the sweet Thai ginger soy sauce. The Indian dish is likewise lip-smacking, especially due to the green curry dipping sauce—which is chock-full of eggplant, peppers and other veggies—that pairs with the dish. The skirt steak plays little role in the appetizer, though, as only four small slivers are offered.
A light, cooling start to the meal, the papaya salad is a customer favorite. It’s hard not to be smitten with a description like this: green papaya, string beans, cherry tomatoes and nuts tossed in a sweet garlic-lime dressing. The salad is crisp, tangy, thoroughly refreshing and a perfect way to kick off a meal with creamy sauces and heavy spice that Thai cuisine is known for.
SOI4 offers quite a selection of sometimes truly unique and innovative curry dishes. A crowd-pleasing plate—possibly because it resembles a more exotic beef stew—is the slow-braised beef short rib in panang curry with lime leaves (panang is typically a bit milder than other curries). The savory melt-in-your-mouth meat balances the slightly sweet curry.
SOI4 also has an excellent version of pad Thai, possibly the most popular Thai dish and not surprisingly a customer favorite. The dish features rice stick noodles with prawns, nuts, tofu, egg, bean sprouts and chives. SOI4’s version differs from others in the Valley as it isn’t served with meat; instead, it has several nice-size shrimp and crisped pieces of tofu.
Though a variation of banana, mango and coconut graces any Thai restaurant dessert menu, the fried bananas paired with coconut ice cream at SOI4 are something special. The creamy coconut ice cream melts over the crispy fried exterior of the bananas while the entire plate is drizzled with sweet honey. http://www.soifour.com/.