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2010 Best of Sacramento Winner
Tuk Tuk Restaurant
4630 Natomas Blvd., #150
2010 Best of Sacramento Winner - Best Sloppy Snack
Certainly one of the most beautiful restaurants in the Sacramento region, Tuk Tuk also plates up some of the region’s best Thai food. Named after the Southeast Asian version of an auto rickshaw, a popular form of urban transport in Thailand, Tuk Tuk offers a glamorous, stunningly decorated environment in which to enjoy its full-flavored, vivacious cuisine. At one end of the roomy, high-ceilinged space, a wall is covered in sleek, dark wood, against which low, wooden booths with soft, tasseled pillows are attached, lending an exotic air to the restaurant. Throughout the space you’ll see small Thai statuettes and funky, wavy vases holding brightly-colored leaves; and to the right is a sparkly-black, underlit bar with stylish, contemporary bar stools. You’ll relish the menu, which offers the cast of usual Thai choices (tom kha gai soup, pad thai, chicken satay) with a number of more unusual dishes. The most endearing quality of the menu, however, is that many items include a comment from the owner (“This is my mom's recipe and method of making tom yum goong and it is the best!” ; “Rad Nah is soothing food. I guess it is the warm gravy and the soft noodles”) that invites diners to feel connected to the restaurant in an interesting, endearing way. Outstanding dishes include the chu chee goong, grilled, in-shell jumbo prawns lavished with a spicy, pleasingly textured roasted red curry sauce; and the extremely challenging to eat but captivatingly delicious miang kam, a popular Thai street food snack composed of lettuce leaves piled with bits of sweet coconut, lime, peanuts and ginger, topped with a soft shrimp and a chunk of bell pepper. Diners clumsily form this into a loose taco shape, then dip it into an electrifying tamarind sauce. The result is a multidimensional circus of flavors in the mouth—a wonderful way to begin a Thai meal. And if you like red meat, don’t miss Tuk Tuk’s yam nuea, or spicy beef salad—tossed with papery-thin wisps of carrot, sliced red onion and fresh basil leaves, the chili-flecked strips of roasted beef are coated in a bright, wake-up-your-palate vinaigrette. Buried deep in a confusingly large mall area on Natomas Boulevard, Tuk Tuk can be a bit difficult to find, but it is well worth the effort. — Kira O'Donnell
Insider tip: A wide screen television hanging over the entrance of the restaurant shows revolving scenes of gorgeous Thai landscapes.
Reservations: Recommended for parties of six or more
Payment methods: AmEx, Diners’ Club, MasterCard, Visa
Alcohol: Full bar
Corkage fee: $10
Hours: Open daily: Lunch 11 a.m.–3 p.m.; Dinner 3–10 p.m.
Price Range: Inexpensive
2010 Best of Sacramento Winner: Editors' Pick
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