Traditional Thai cuisine is not hard to find in Denver, from flamethrowers like Thai Monkey Club and US Thai to practioners of the fresh and sophisticated, like Taste of Thailand. But Aloy Modern Thai, set to open Monday (February 1) in the former Trillium space on Larimer Street, promises something a little different. Owners Bo Bean and Arisa Chanchokpong, sisters and Bangkok natives, searched out top talent from their home country to create a menu that dances gracefully between the familiar and the creative.
The sisters, along with their mother, have been running Aloy Thai in Boulder for nearly a decade. You'll find influences from the original Aloy menu here — especially in the sauces and dishes like the pad Thai, tom kha soup and pineapple fried rice. But many of the small plates — tartare tuna bathed in spicy lime sauce; salmon slices served in a smoke-filled jar; lightly marinated Hokkaido scallops that you cook on a searing-hot lava rock — show modernist techniques and presentations that Bean notes are popular in Bangkok's hottest restaurants.
Entrees, too, get contemporary treatment, with mussamum curry used to flavor rack of lamb instead of being ladled over rice; traditional shoo shee curry paired with coconut foam on a salmon dish; and Kobe beef served with grilled shishito peppers and chili jam. Sourcing is a focus, too; many locally grown vegetables not normally associated with Thai cooking find their way onto plates, with root vegetables in season now — primarily from farms within fifty miles of the restaurant — and much more variety coming with warmer weather.
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Bean explains that although she and her sister were born and raised in Bangkok, they come from a Chinese family that settled in Thailand two generations earlier. They grew up eating Chinese and Thai cuisine before moving to Colorado, which could explain their willingness to play with flavors and techniques. They hired executive chef Ray Srisamer because of his extensive experience with Japanese and Thai restaurants in Okinawa and Bangkok as well as restaurants throughout the Western U.S.
The beverage program also embraces current Bangkok trends, with a list of notable whiskeys, beers — both Thai and Colorado craft — as well as sake and wine put together by bar manager Jordan Clark, who honed his skills in some of the top hotels in Las Vegas.
Aloy will open for dinner at 5 p.m. Monday. After that, it will open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Brunch is also in the works, with fun dishes like Thai chicken and waffles on the agenda. Keep reading for more photos.