Bangkok

Cuisine: Thai
3277 Refugee Road
(614) 231-8787

Click here to map it!

Thais love food. A lot.

When amongst a group of Thais who find themselves in Columbus, try asking about their favorite place for (insert non-Thai Asian dish here). Don’t be surprised if this spurs a passionate 20 minute discussion of the pros and cons of any of a variety of options.

Now, try this – ask about their favorite place to go when they’re homesick.  Odds are, discussion will begin and end with a single word: Bangkok.

This is not surprising, since Bangkok (the restaurant) is nothing less than a slice of Bangkok (the city), that’s been picked up and plonked down on Refugee Rd. in our fair city.  A place where decor is reserved for expressions of respect for Buddha, king, and country, and service is leisurely and charming… Bangkok is pure Thai through and through.

This, of course, extends to the menu offering.  While Bangkok carries an abbreviated menu of Chinese-American dishes, to order one is, at least in my opinion, to entirely miss the point.  Who orders Tex-Mex in Rome?

Certainly not Warren Taylor*, owner of Snowville Creamery, who we (purely by chance) ran into during our visit.  As soon as the wait staff saw him, a series of nods back and forth indicated that he’d be having ‘the usual’.

In his case, this meant pad hoi (mussels in red sauce) and pad puck boong (watercress in a garlic sauce).  When this arrived, along with our pork pad ka pow (ground pork with basil and garlic) and pad thai, Warren suggested eating ‘family style’.

Our kind of guy, that Warren.

I tried the pad hoi first.  This was something special – a generous portion of some of the plumpest mussels I’ve ever seen, served with vegetables in a red sauce.  The red sauce was fascinating – almost everyone at the table thought tasted like a Thai interpretation of a tomatoey marinara sauce that had been pureed.  Delighted but slightly confused, we asked the waitress about this. Turns out, we were comically off – the red color came from a mild chili paste (no tomatoes whatsoever). Fish sauce, garlic, and basil rounded it out.  A dish worth plotting a return trip around.

pad ka pow (front) and pad hoi (back)

The pad ka pow was also very well received.  The ground pork hit the sweet spot between too lean and too fatty, and the sweet basil, garlic, and chiles asserted themselves in no uncertain terms.  A great dish that effortlessly balances big flavors, pad ka pow is often eaten by Thais with kai dao (a fried egg).

The pad thai – I almost hesitate to even mention it.  Not because it wasn’t good (it absolutely was), but because people’s opinions about it are almost as divergent as their take on, say, pizza.  Suffice it to say that everyone at our table enjoyed it, with several suggesting it was their favorite.

Beyond what we tried, Bangkok’s Thai selection is substantial – from yum nuea to tom yum to curries, they hit all of the high points and then some. They also have a reasonable selection of vegetable dishes, though strict vegetarians may want to inquire about their use of fish sauce.

Regrettably, the majority of the photos from the evening were lost to faulty technology.  Guess we’ll just have to go back sometime soon (such a hardship!).

*Warren Taylor, aside from being a hell of an interesting character, oversees the production of a product is perhaps worthy of an alt.eats post of its own. For the time being, though, if you haven’t tried Snowville’s milk or cream I highly recommend you do.

17 responses to “Bangkok

  1. Bangkok’s pad thai is my favorite too, but it is very oily relative to some others (e.g. Nida’s)

    A minor letdown is the fact that the attached grocery doesn’t sell beer – I assume they would allow BYOB since they don’t have a license (or didn’t last time I went).

  2. The excellence of this meal is not overstated by this post. I would say this is the best Thai in town.

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  5. Definitely my favorite Thai restaurant in Columbus. The Pad Thai is very distinct here; it has an incredibly smokey flavor. Our regular order is: Tom Ka Gai, Pad Ka Pow (chicken), Pad Thai, and sticky rice. We also mix it up with the super crispy spring rolls and Som Tum (green papaya salad). The pad puck boong is also one of my childhood favorites. Be advised that puck boong is not watercress–it’s actually a water spinach/water morning glory vegetable that is known as Ong Choy in Chinese.

    Only wish I had was that the Thai curries served at Bangkok were more varied. When I had a curry hankering, we would always go up the street to Pad Thai. Sadly, they closed and I can’t find the curry I love😦

    • Thanks for the post, and thanks for the elaboration on the pad puck boong – useful stuff!

      I’m completely with you on the curries – I thought Pad Thai was the better choice for them, and it truly is a shame they closed.

  6. Just went to Bangkok for the first time last night. My friend Kit who works with Edible Columbus (and is Thai) suggested it. I agree with your take on the place. Everyone in our party was happy. My usual judge of a Thai restaurant is how closely the Tom Yum and curries match the real stuff in Thailand. I didn’t love their curry, but the soups exceeded my expectations. Best Tom Ka Gai in Columbus. I’ll have to go back and try your recommendations. So excited to have found this place!

    • Glad you enjoyed! I hear you on the curries – they definitely aren’t their specialty. I’d say the same for most of the apps.

  7. Sooooooo, good. As someone who lived in Bangkok (the city) for a stint in college, this is the real deal. It is really hard to find legit Thai food in the U.S. You usually wind up with an Americanized Thai-Chinese hybrid, which is delicious but completely different. I❤ Americanized Pad See-Ew, but I didn’t see a broccoli floret the entire time I was in Thailand. And dear goodness, if you don’t have Thai basil, don’t make dishes that require Thai basil. Luckily, Bangkok (the restaurant) has plenty of Thai basil for plenty of delicious and authentic dishes!

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  12. Erawan Thai down the street has the best Curries!

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