A couple of Fridays ago, I asked Marie what she was in the mood to try. She said that she’d like some Thai curry, and I set about looking for a nearby place that we had not visited before. For many years now, even before Marie moved to Atlanta, I’ve been driving past Bangkok Cabin on my way to Big Shanty Smokehouse, which is just two doors down on Cherokee Street. I’ve often been curious about this Thai restaurant and what the food is like, but it’s a rare, rare day when I’m ever going to want Thai over barbecue, and they’re just so close to each other. Fortunately, Marie’s around to give this blog a little more variety.
True enough, we got to Bangkok Cabin – there is space in the back for about a dozen cars – and I looked wistfully at Big Shanty, shrugged, and moved on inside.
All of the businesses on this stretch of Cherokee Street are in old houses, the area rezoned from residential. Bangkok Cabin, which has been here since at least 2006, has a strong reputation for excellent service and long waits. The meals are made to order, with no shortcuts in the kitchen to turn tables over quickly. Come early for supper and you’ll still be here for quite some time, and you won’t complain one jot because the food’s so good.
Bubbling under the surface in several recent chapters, you might have detected that I’ve been a little less than satisfied with the quality of meats in restaurants that specialize in cuisine from Asian nations. There are exceptions, sure, but let’s be real about this: I eat a lot of meat already in the form of barbecue and hamburgers, which are probably my two favorite things to eat, and unless I’m ordering a specific meat dish that I know that I’ll love – beef rendang, chicken 65, nam sod – there’s really no need to have meat in a meal that’s all about the sauces and the vegetables anyway. In conjunction with having a Meatless Monday dinner, I’m putting this into practice when we’re at Thai or Chinese restaurants from now on, and with this in mind, I ordered the Pad Ginger Tofu, in which the protein is stir-fried with fresh ginger and mixed vegetables.
Marie had the curry that she had been craving, a masamam curry with chicken. Both dishes were really good. We had been biting our lips in anticipation after the other two couples in the restaurant ahead of us had their food brought right past us, giving us the chance to smell their dishes. The meals here are very complex, with lots of competing and complementary flavors, and I honestly wasn’t all that petulant about missing out on Big Shanty Smokehouse after enjoying my dinner.
This may not be quite the best Thai restaurant that we have tried in the Atlanta area – Erewan in north Sandy Springs is darn near untouchable, honestly – but it’s a lot better than many others. I’m very glad that Marie’s craving brought us here at last.
You can see all the restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s a terrific resource for anybody planning a road trip through the southeast!