No Ordinary Venue Menu
One night in Tokyo Bangkok made Hosho humble
Built around the menu highlights of the now shuttered Sushi King & Asian Kitchen, Tokyo Bangkok set its sights on the dinner-
Starting with the appetizers, the Red Chili Dumplings ($7.99) are basically chicken gyoza served alongside a sweet and spicy sauce, over a bed of fresh greens, cabbage and ribbons of carrot. The bright tangy sauce makes the bite more sweet than spicy, but ultimately it's a balanced and textured beginning. The moist chicken filling is well seasoned and the greens-plus-garnish makes for both an appetizer and a simple salad in one. If you're looking for something more substantial, look no further than the Heart Attack ($8.99). Think jalapeno poppers meets sushi—a pepper stuffed with a mix of spicy tuna and crab with cream cheese thrown in to dampen the heat. Be it the spice or the deep-fry—they'll certainly get your blood pumping.
As for the sushi, I tend to search for two things: How a spot handles standards, and what they do differently than the rest. In Tokyo Bangkok's case, it's the latter that wins out. They offer a whole host of rolls I haven't seen before, including a few Harry Potter-themed specialties. The Gryffindor Roll ($17.99) is a big bite built around shrimp tempura, with salmon, tuna and at least two different kinds of roe on top—an approachable roll with crowd-pleasing flavors throughout. It's a mouthful, to be sure, and a generous roll—but at that price, you'd better have J.K. Rowling money if you're going to order it over and over.
As for entrees, the cabbage, carrots and celery soak up the simple heat of the Spicy Jungle Noodles ($11.99). The stir-fry gives the flat noodles all the garlic and glisten typical of the dish, with the protein and the broccoli standing front and center proudly. There's sriracha on the table if, like me, you prefer a bit more heat, but that's not meant to suggest that the chef shies away from flavor. The surprise of the Kung Pao Chicken ($11.99) is that it's served far wetter than your typical Kung Pao, approaching a soup-like texture. The spice is mild, nothing for timid tongues to worry over, and the vegetables are prepared with precision—arriving consistently in each bite while the protein, luscious bits of chicken thigh in this particular case, was the star without overpowering other ingredients. Obvious chunks of mushroom, the crunch of peanuts and the brightness of fresh herbs each add texture and layers to the subtle heat and soy of the sauce. The generous portion and large side of rice makes for a nice leftover surprise: Toss it all together when you're ready to go, and your leftover rice soaks into the liquid remnants—making for another half-meal after your movie is long over—enough to fill in the cracks. If you're looking for a substantial veggie as a feature of your meal, the Pad Eggplant ($11.99) certainly fits the bill. Big-bite chunks of eggplant pan-fried with basil, onions and garlic makes for a rich and sturdy dish, with or without added protein. As a vehicle for a dish's strengths, eggplant remains underrated as a way to freight flavor while adding a fulfilling gravitas to each forkful.
If you want a one-and-done order, look to either the combination plates or the bento boxes — with food enough to skip appetizers, and never even consider dessert. The Pad Kee Mow ($14.99, with seafood combo) is a fajita flavors-
While you might be able to jaunt all over town, comparing apples to apples in region-specific restaurants and scaring up a superior treasure here or gem there, what Tokyo Bangkok delivers is a baseline, default setting of fresh fish, quality ingredients and a true, workmanlike competence across their entire ambitious menu. They've made their spot inviting and a friendly, well-trained staff displays an effortless attention to detail—all the way down to the tiny origami rose atop your drinking straw. If there's a downside, it's that the prices are higher than average here. That's not always a deal-breaker for me, but it certainly does play a part in the overall experience of a place. But with such quality and variety, it's definitely a something-
4549 Pan American West Fwy. NE
Hours: Mon-Thu: 11am-9pm Fri-Sat: 11am-9:30pm Sun: Noon-8:30pm
Vibe: Cool and inviting, with both decor and a menu that spans multiple Asian region and flavors.
Alibi Recommends: Red Chili Dumplings, The Gryffindor Roll, Pad Eggplant or Pad Kee Mow.