Friday, August 12, 2011
Owner Vila Jarrell really pulled out all the stops for her newest restaurant, which pays equal homage to the local art scene and the culture of Thailand. She used to own and operate Vila Thai near the UA, which closed when her new restaurant opened earlier this year.
The courtyard area is as much a sculpture garden as it is a lounge area, with giant metal insects and flowers intermingling with couches Jarrell says are upholstered in the same colors as the robes worn by Buddhist monks. Lighting is soft, but ample. Everything is stone, wood, bamboo and metal. A nearby high-rise provides a blue-tile wall that resembles waterfall, if you squint just a bit. At night, a giant “V” is projected upon it.
The inside is done in equally soft tones, with pictures of Thai culture and a lot more art. Bamboo, rugs, modern metal and wood furniture and a small bar fill the rest of the space.
Now we must talk about the food, if only for a second.
The curries — I’ve tried the green and red — are fragrant and spicy and creamy all at once. Fine steak cuts and seafood are in abundance. Mint, cilantro, ginger and other spices are used to good effect. Many dishes can be made vegetarian-style, or even vegan. The drink menu is fun. There’s plenty of wine, and a private wine room to sip it in.
Chef Redman Jarrell — a down-to-earth guy with a passion for traditional Thai cuisine — says many of the entrées are refined takes on recipes taught to him by his mother-in law. It’s a little more upscale than what you find at the other half-dozen Thai restaurants in town, and that, it turns out, is a very good thing.
As mentioned in Noshing Around this week, the restaurant is adding lunch hours soon, too.