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“Downtown taste of Thai!”

Bangkok Restaurant & Jazz Bar
Ranked #216 of 2,363 Restaurants in Indianapolis
Cuisines: Thai
Restaurant details
Indiana
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Downtown taste of Thai!”
Reviewed 16 February 2014

We live right down the street from the newly opened Bangkok, and I'm really excited that we have Thai food downtown. This place has a lunch buffet and regular service at dinner. I have walked by several times at lunch hour and it has been crowded, but I have never been in for the buffet. This review is for the dinner/bar service. I have eaten here twice for dinner, including on a Friday night with live jazz, which was really nice (it could be heard softly in the restaurant area or loudly in the bar area). It doesn't seem to have caught on as much for dinner yet, as the times I have been there for dinner there were plenty of tables available.

I have tried some of the Thai noodle dishes (enjoyed the drunken noodles / Pad Kee Mow) and the curries and found both to be to my liking. In addition, they have very reasonably priced wine by the glass and some cool cocktails. It would be a great place to just sit and have a drink and listen to music.

If you're looking for something different from the Mass Ave pizza/burger/beer joints, check this place out! However, if you don't like Thai food don't go here, because in case it's not obvious, they serve Thai food. (I feel compelled to add this last point because the only other review of this place is from someone who reviewed the restaurant negatively because it serves Thai food and they were expecting American-style "Chinese" fare).

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank wr8507
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Portland, Maine
Level 6 Contributor
118 reviews
64 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“If they could fix the language barrier...”
Reviewed 27 January 2014

Have you ever held or attended an event where there was something just not quite right, but you didn’t know what it might be? If so, then you will know what I think about a couple meals business friends and I had recently at the buffet at Bangkok Restaurant and Jazz Bar, 225 East Ohio Street, where Charlie & Barney’s (which has closed) used to be.

The good news is I like the atmosphere and the place but the bad news is they just do not seem to be hitting on all the cylinders — at least not for me. A number of friends have had glowing things to say especially about their noon buffets, but to me there’s just something that’s lacking.

I do know one of the things which bothers me is that servers appear to most all be Thai natives and have a tough time understanding questions and wants of we Midwestern English speakers. I am all for genuine and correct so no charges of xenophobia, please, but when you are introducing someone to food from your “home” (especially when “home” is a foreign country), then you need to have someone with a command of the local language standing by to understand what the customer wants to know (Such as what’s in what they are about to dish up or order.) and answering questions. Bangkok lacks this as while I did meet an American host and couple of other staff they were nowhere close to the buffet to help in my hour of need.

The other problem, especially noted by the three of us dining on a recent Friday, is that things “look” like familiar dishes from a typical Chinese restaurant, but they are not what they appear because this is not a Chinese buffet, but Thai food. For example, we all took what appeared to be crab rangoons off the buffet and were disappointed that they were actually filled with a pasty ground chicken (we were later told) which was a greenish colour and resembled the insides of some lobsters. In short, it was “OK” but not what we’d expected so most of the ones we took were sadly wasted.

Other dishes were also very different and while we searched for someone to explain, once we found them, we still were left wondering what we were about to eat as we encountered a language barrier at every turn that would have done the Berlin Wall proud.

We did like the Pad Thai (description from the menu we found online later: “Rice noodles cooked in a homemade Thai sauce, stir-fried with bean sprouts, green onions, egg, and peanuts sprinkled on top...”) and we also enjoyed what I think was a very crispy orange chicken. The white and fried rice both were nice, but we passed on several dishes we later were told by friends who regularly dine at another Thai restaurant contained coconut milk. I think the colour and murky look put us off, but I do plan to go back and try them while taking local friends who can explain what I am about to eat. This is, for someone like me who is willing to try and usually likes any and everything, more a communication than a culinary issue!

I also am planning to try a dinner off the menu. Buffets are usually a great way to sample a lot of dishes and see what you might want a whole plate of later, but lacking any help with what we were about to sample (or ability to recall the names after lunch) I can see this is going to take additional work.

That said, I plan to give it my best shot because I like the location, the decor and the soft jazz the restaurant is playing in the backgound. The dark woods and overall atmosphere rival anything downtown, but when you remember that what realy counts is what’s on the plate then there’s some work needed here — I am not sure if that’s by me, the restaurant’s management or both.

Bangkok is definitely somewhere I plan to visit again, but I can clearly see I need an “interpreter” and to do some tastebud adjustments if I am to appreciate what others have told me is a great new addition to the downtown dining scene.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank lilamadison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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