For me, comfort food doesn't necessarily mean junk food. In fact, it almost never means junk food (with the notable exception of homemade cookies, which to me don't count as junk), but rather healthy food, easily gotten. This is precisely why my favorite haunts include Khalachandji's and Spiral Diner. But it's also the case with Bangkok City.
Admittedly, I didn't expect much. I pass this place daily on my way to work, and it's in one of those nondescript old apartment buildings that looks like a recession's all it needs to be pushed over the line from charming to seedy. But upon entering late one afternoon, I was greeted with a soothing, green-tinted light that reminded me of grandmother's living room in California. The sunlight poured through Venetian blinds and the split-level restaurant was quiet, but for the soft clink of chopsticks on china.
We were seated by a tag-team of enormously courteous servers and given vast, plastic-covered menus. When I saw the word "vegan"--under the Fried Rice section, no less--I rejoiced. And when our server came, it was as painless as I had hoped.
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"We're vegan," I said, and she nodded knowingly. I launched into the "no-eggs-no-meat-no-milk-no-fish-no-butter" spiel just in case, and she told us we could eat the peanut sauce and brown sauce.
I can't order Thai without getting a green papaya salad, and Bangkok City's was just as I like it:spicy, limey, sprinkled (but not covered) with peanuts. The salad rolls--basically a spring roll with tofu--were nice, if unsurprising, and a pot of green tea was a perfect complement. Our stir fry (#30), served in a very light, savory brown sauce came with tofu and a horde of vegetables: mushrooms (fresh ones!), red and green bell peppers, baby corn, onions, celery and pineapple. The tofu pad Thai was delightfully sticky.
By the time we'd finished, I was, as usual, stuffed and satisfied. The sun had set, plunging the restaurant into a pleasant grayish twilight until the lights flicked on. All in all, Bangkok City was a highly comforting experience.
4301 Bryan St. #101 (not related to the one on Greenville Ave.)