THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Panasia
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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Panasia Restaurant Review: THIS ESTABLISHMENT IS CLOSED Thai food is underrepresented in New Orleans given the city's rich mix of cultures, and given America's expanding interest in Asia's cuisines. Punnee Banjaray is out to amend this imbalance. Having run Mid-City's Bangkok Cuisine, the benchmark for Thai food in Orleans Parish, for nearly 20 years, she and her family branched out in 2000 and began offering a blended Louisiana-Thai cuisine at La Thai Cuisine in Metairie; as of late 2002, they also dabble in fancified Thai dishes in the Central Business District. Panasia is a white tablecloth restaurant-in-a-hotel (as opposed to a hotel restaurant) where you'll find traditional dishes like tom yam goong (sweet-spicy lemon grass soup) and lap kai (a cold ground chicken and fresh herb salad), and unique combinations such as grilled escolar with coconut green curry and lemon grass-flavored lamb shank paired with masaman curry. The mostly California wine list is satisfactory, but the Thai iced tea is superb. While upscale Thai food isn't a natural choice for most downtown tourists when the greatest concentration of Creole restaurants waits just blocks away in the French Quarter, Panasia's quiet, candlelit atmosphere and fresh flavors do offer respite from raucous crowds and heavy sauces---vegetarians will especially enjoy the change of pace. Lunches, which bring in the CBD's power set, are more lively than dinnertime.