New Thai Village and No Thai! spice up the scene, while Emo’s freshens up its array of Korean cuisine
In downtown Lansing, a touch of Thai was needed. A few weeks ago, Thai Village opened its doors at 400 S. Washington Square, filling a culinary void and diners’ stomachs.
Owner Marie Yang sold a Thai restaurant she owned in
Farmington Hills and looked for a new challenge. She found it in the
capital city, and where she continues the second career she launched
after retiring from the health care industry.
“I had been working all my life,” Yang says. “The restaurants were something for me.”
Thai Village opened on July 25, and Yang says the first week was quite chaotic. Things have settled since, but running a business affords little downtime.
“It’s busy, but it’s your own, so you can spend time with your family,” Yang says.
While Yang is often the face of Thai Village, her husband cooks in the kitchen — and he cooks lots of peanut curry.
“That dish is the most popular,” Yang says. “At my other restaurant they ate it, too, but not like here. I was so shocked.”
Other signature entrées ($7 lunch, $9 dinner) include Thai
pepper steak in a garlic brown sauce and Three’s Company, with shrimp,
scallop and crab in a Thai curry. Soups, appetizers and over 20 other entrées round out the menu.
400 S. Washington Square., Lansing
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday; noon-9 p.m. Saturday and Saturday
TO, D, RES, OM, WiFi
Unlike downtown Lansing, the city of East Lansing already has a handful of Thai options. Now, it has one more.
On July 27, No Thai! opened its doors on Grand River
between Barnes & Noble and the Student Book Store; it’s the
restaurant chain’s fourth location and the first outside of Ann Arbor.
The No Thai! name is a play on an owner’s first name, but being a college-town creation, No Thai! revels in irreverence. Cooks and order-takers reference both a "Seinfeld" icon and text-speak culture with T-shirts that read “No Thai 4 U!”
Don’t expect Thai Nazi treatment, though; the atmosphere is relaxed and the food is casual.
If you have never experienced Thai before, this might be a spot to check out first. Sauces are homemade from family recipes and almost everything is prepared fresh on-site.
Five levels of spice — which include “weak sauce” and
“yoga flame” — allow for customizable heat. Pad noodle dishes, stir fry,
fried rice and a few appetizers fill a menu with a couple dozen
options. Entrées range from $7.50 to $9.50.
403 E. Grand River Ave.
11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-10 p.m. Sunday
TO, OM, $
Emo’s Korean Restaurant
If Thai isn’t your thing, try some Korean at Emo’s in East
Lansing. The little diner has been around for four years, but it’s not
afraid to try something new.
Robert Schmungler, son of owner and sole
cook Myong Holloway, recently returned from a trip to Los Angeles where
he scoped out Koreatown for fresh ideas.
“There are, like, 35 Korean barbecue places there,”
Schmungler says, referring to the densely packed, three square-mile
section of L.A.
One item coming soon to Emo’s menu is the
bulgogi wrap, a fusion idea that incorporates the popular Korean
marinated beef into familiar (and portable) wrap form.
The galbi ($12, also spelled kalbi) is perhaps Emo’s most
popular dish, consisting of barbecued beef short ribs marinated for 24
hours. Slender slabs of beef hang from the bone and impart a nice
balance of sweet and savory with a smokiness that comes close to
mesquite. The white rice that comes with it is perfect for soaking up
all that tasty leftover juice.
Emo’s Korean Restaurant
901 Trowbridge Road, East Lansing
10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday;
noon-9 p.m. Sunday
D, TO, RES, OM, $$
Red Cedar Café
If all you want is a hot cup of coffee and a freshly baked blueberry scone, you’ll soon be able to unwind at Red Cedar Café.
Owner Angie Anderson, a veteran of Michigan State
University’s residential dining services and bakery, is leaving behind
the institutional food service scene and venturing out on her own.
If all goes according to plan, she’ll open her doors in East Lansing’s Brookfield Plaza by Aug. 29.
Anderson says the atmosphere will be fast-casual with an emphasis on quality coffee and homemade food.
Sandwiches, soups, salads and baked goods will line the menu, and catering will be available, too.
“I just love going to different bakeries and cafés, and I
saw an opportunity in a great area with great energy,” Anderson says.
“It’s always been my dream to have my own café.”
Red Cedar Café
1331 E. Grand River Ave, Suite 111, East Lansing
6:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday; weekend hours to be determined