meet Modern Dallas
Tucked into the shopping strip along Oak Lawn
Avenue just north of Wycliffe, (that’s the
Highland Park spelling) is The Mint. It’s the latest
addition to the modern food fusion scene in
Dallas. Unlike a more traditional Thai restaurant,
you will find no kitschy décor, no fringed lamps
restaurant Asian Mint on Forest Lane, this place
The atmosphere in the Mint is a contrast to the original location. Here the feeling
is cool and serene with a stylish edge all its own. The furnishings are sleek and
simple, with rows of comfy padded half-booths lining the walls. Wall
decorations and panels are made from real Thai silk in soothing cool colors that
give the room a calming effect. The closeness that would seem to be a liability
in the Dallas area serves to bring customers together in a shared experience. A
busy evening at The Mint is almost like dining with a room full of friends, really
The music on the night I visited was very ultra-lounge and the retro tunes gave
the room a nice romantic flavor, but here like the Asian Mint on Forest Lane, the
food is the main event.
The food is billed as New Bangkok Cuisine. Thailand, sits at the crossroads of
Southeast Asia, and its tastes are influenced a great deal by its neighboring
countries. The new Thai fusion takes the best of other Asian styles and combines
it with the unique Thai sensibility to create something new, while retaining the
familiar basics of the country of origin.
I sat down with Nikky, who owns the restaurants with her husband. They started
just four years ago with the idea for the first restaurant, Asian Mint. Nikky wanted
to bring the real flavors of her homeland - modern Thai cuisine to Dallas.
“People used to think of Thai food as too spicy and hot, but food served in
Bangkok is geared to a more international pallet,” Nikky said.
She went on to explain the basics of Thai cuisine. “Thai food is blend of what
we call four essences, spicy, salty, sweet and sour. Each dish has a ‘star’
essence while still having the other three.”
At The Mint, the real focus is always on the ingredients, not just the spices.
Herbs also play a big part as well. Basil, ginger, and other herbs are paired
with the ingredients that compliment the main ingredient of each dish.
That subtle balance was evident in the dishes I sampled. The appetizer was
grilled Thai Fish Balls. This Nikky said, was typical Bangkok street food. The
tasty bite sized balls are skewered and grilled, served with a sweet and sour
peanut sauce, with just a hint of red chilies. The flavorful balls burst in the
mouth and are a wonderful way to start a meal.
The main course was Red Curry Roast Duck. Thinly sliced roast duck was stir
fried and served in a red curry sauce with fresh basil, tomatoes, pineapple,
broccoli, baby bok choy and baby corn. Each ingredient added its own
complimentary texture and flavor to the succulent duck. I will be having this
dish again, and soon!
Though I declined desert, The Mint specializes in them. Nikky studied to be a
pastry chef before becoming a restaurateur, and unlike some Asian Green
Tea Ice Cream cake. It goes well with a cup of illy espresso from The Mint’s
The Mint also offers a very extensive cocktail menu with signature specialty
martinis every night and The Mint’s own Saki-jito, an Asian fusion take on the
traditional Mojito. For non-alcoholic drinks The Mint has their own Italian
water purification system, with still and sparking water available that is
bottled on the premises.
The sister restaurant was rated one of the top 10 restaurant in 2005 and no
doubt this new addition will receive similar accolades. The Mint is a great
way to experience modern Bangkok in the midst of modern Dallas.
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