After the births of their two boys, Nithidol and Ratinthon Nithithanawut of Bangkok, Thailand, dreamed of bringing their sense of family business experience to the United States. Since Nithidol’s sister had long lived in Atlanta and they had been impressed by the charm of the city during their visits here, this seemed like the perfect place to begin. Thus, with extensive planning and preparation, the Nithithanawuts opened the doors of “Bangkok Station” in early 2015, and it is now the source of Buckhead Atlanta’s most authentic Thai cuisine.* Located on Pharr Road, in the heart of what might be called “Buckhead’s dining district,” the gastronomical philosophy of Bangkok Station begins and ends with genuine faithfulness to traditional Thai cooking.
Yet, just what is “Thai cooking”?
Thailand is a country of nearly 67 million people, but, as any traveler to Thailand will have discovered, Thailand is a very geographically and culturally diverse country, and this includes its cuisine. For the last six and a half centuries, a unified Thai kingdom has existed. Known as “Siam” until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country to have never been taken over by a European power. Nevertheless, it was less than a century ago that the Thai railway was built, and this resulted in each of Thailand’s four major regions retaining its own culinary distinctiveness, with each region having its own ethnic history, its own dialect, and practicing its own customs. First, there is the Southern peninsula, with the Andaman Sea on the west and the Gulf of Thailand to the east. This region is more culturally Malay and it is the primary source of much of the coconut dishes of Thailand, including rich coconut curries, as well as some of the spicier ones. This region is a major source of Thai seafood. The Central region is the large area expanding outward from the fertile Chao Phraya River delta, with its rich soil, and the dominating influence of Bangkok, “the City of Angels.” Much of Thailand’s fruits and vegetables are grown in this area, and the dishes from this region are more inventive. The North is far cooler and more mountainous, including the lands surrounding Chiang Mai and bordered by Laos and Myanmar. This is also an area dominated by jungle, and so the culinary tradition from the North tend to be more herbaceous with the use of freshwater fish. More “old-school,” traditional food preparation methods come from here, including brothy, steamed food. The Northeastern region is a vast plateau area bordered by the Mekong River, and it includes ethnically Lao and Khmer populations. It has a very arid climate, and the dishes from there tend to be simpler and spicy. Probably the most iconic dish from there is papaya salad.
“Bangkok Station,” the busiest of the major train stations in Thailand, is symbolic of arrival and presentation of genuine Thai dishes from all regions of this great nation. Far removed from other types of Asian fare, then, is “traditional” Thai food, and all of it involves considerable thought and time for preparation. Each item in each dish at Bangkok Station is made ready according to exacting standards and with attention to both presentation and taste. This is because, in Thailand, dishes are about more than simply taste. In Thailand, food is appreciated. First, consume it with your eyes. The first impression about the dish is its presentation, its appearance. Then, the flavor. The flavor should be full, hitting multiple areas of the palate and unleashing a series of flavor sensations. At Bangkok Station, the flavor of each dish is authentic. It is what you would find in Thailand. Attention to detail is important here, and each dish is prepared using authentic recipes and using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Our chefs have extensive experience in the culinary industry in first class venues in Bangkok. This includes Chef A.J., Apirat Jaroendee, one of the most experienced and well-known chefs of Thai cuisine in Atlanta. He insures that the best care is given to each dish presented at Bangkok Station.
While the food is, of course, central to any Bangkok Station dining experience, no meal could be complete without exploring the restaurant’s impressive wine selection. Every oenophile will feel warmly welcomed here as Bangkok Station’s wine menu will easily stand out amongst all other restaurants in the metropolitan area. Each offering was hand-selected by our resident sommelier to pair well with the cuisine, and they range from the very classic to the truly rare. Most selections come from small productions, and some cannot be found in any Georgia store or other Atlanta venue. Not content to stop there, however, our craft cocktail list includes only drinks that have been personally designed by Bangkok Station’s general manager, Manapat Kachintagsa. With nearly 20 years in the Atlanta restaurant industry, he has designed each drink to include at least one authentically Thai ingredient, separating it from the typical and elevating it to an experience.
Yet, before you can order a drink or enjoy the food, the very first thing anyone will notice upon walking through the doors is the décor. This space has been a business location in Buckhead for decades, and it has now been remade in carefully chosen and custom designed wood, taking advantage of the airy, open design of the space. Handcrafted furniture and light fixtures were brought from Thailand to give the space its feel. Again, authenticity is the key. This includes the beautiful private dining room, which seats up to 25, and the large and gorgeously appointed patio, perfect for Atlanta days and nights almost all year round.
Nithidol and Ratinthon Nithithanawut open their doors to you, and invite you to come and experience genuine Thai cuisine, carefully made from traditional and original recipes, and offered in splendidly prepared fashion by a staff with generations of experience.