If you love Thai cuisine there is a new "must-try" for your list (2 "must-trys", actually). Exhibit A: the new Yao that just opened near Perimeter Center in Dunwoody paying homage to the Yaowarat Road which runs through Bangkok's Chinatown. Yao inhabits 4000 square feet on two levels, decorating the cavernous spot into what feels like a snapshot of the bustling street. Gorgeous, colorful wall murals, neon signs, hanging lantern lighting, Thai ceramics and Buddha statues make you feel like you have left the ATL for an exotic vacation.
The menu pulls from the Isan region of Thailand which borders the country of Laos but most people will find the food offerings familiar if you typically enjoy Thai and Chinese food. Taro rolls, dumplings, steamed pork buns, potstickers are among the appetizers—these are beautiful little plates to get started. The entrees are perhaps even more impressive with lovely Pad Thais that can come with lobster tails or jumbo prawns, duck or crab fried rice, wagyu steak cooked tableside on hot stones and even a whole crispy fried fish. These are all show-stopping, wow-factor dishes for which the Tik Tokers and Instagramers will go crazy. The experience borders on fine dining because of the presentation but the energy of the street and casual service keep it light and lively. The beverage program is also outstanding.
The partners for Yao are on a roll—they also recently opened Tom Pok Pok (exhibit B) on Buford Highway, a scaled-down version of Yao which is also incredible. If you have a Thai craving there are now two new top-tier experiences for which you don't even need a passport.