At Thai Tom, Jackris Kitsondhi creates edible alchemy.
The Food Network didn't get popular by accident. Even its most tepid programming (most of the daytime programming, Emeril, the traffic accident–like Bobby Flay) demonstrates the intrinsic fascination of watching alchemy in motion—particularly when it looks so delicious. But while there are plenty of open kitchens in town, none is quite as eye-catching as that of Thai Tom head chef JACKRIS "GEORGE" KITSONDHI. Go to the counter with a friend and soon the conversation blubbers to a halt, as you sit mesmerized by the flying oils, peppers, vegetables, and woks; the flames that zip from the food are the least of the visual stimuli, as the cook's arms go akimbo and used cookwear gets smacked onto a counter adjacent to the stove, the whole thing moving with balletic grace and Sonic the Hedgehog speed. Iron Chef who? Thai Tom, 4543 University Way N.E., 206-548-9548.
Jackris 'George' Kitsondhi's Picks
Best Thai food (besides Thai Toms): "I always cook for myself."
Ok, best Asian food (besides Thai Toms): "I like noodle soup in my meal, and I think Noodle Studio makes good soup!"
Best Thai iced tea: "No one can beat our Thai iced tea. It's not too sweet. It's just right."
Best pad thai: "We are the best. I'm telling you the truth. We use ingredients that no other restaurants in town use. I can't tell you what those ingredients are, but no one else uses them."
Favorite Thai dish: "Garlic and pepper chicken or chicken Thai basil."
Best non-Asian restaurant: "I like Italian food. I like Olive Garden, but I don't have much time to go out there."