Poppy Watthanakhonphaiboon wanted to bring more than just a taste of her native Thailand to Columbia. She wanted to offer local diners a “one stop” option where they could sample food from Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, India and China. As she explains it, friends often go out to eat and “one will want one kind of food, another a different kind. I wanted one place where everyone could get what they want.” That place is Be My Guest Bistro, which Watthanakhonphaiboon opened in January.
Located at 1200 E. Walnut St., Be My Guest Bistro is a bright, street-front space with a modern industrial look and feel. Bold orange and gold walls welcome diners to the new Asian-fusion eatery. The space features a mix of high-top and regular height tables, along with two lounge areas with comfortable couches.
At Be My Guest Bistro, diners order and pay at the counter in the center of the restaurant; the server brings the order to the table. While waiting for food, guests can help themselves to the self-serve condiment bar, which offers chopsticks and silverware, a variety of chili sauces, and hoisin and soy sauces.
Diners can sample popular dishes from any of the five different countries represented. The menu offers a selection of starters, including BBQ Egg Rolls, Gyoza Dumplings, Vegetable Egg Rolls, Edamame and Deep-Fried Tofu. Another starter option is Samosa, deep-fried, piping-hot triangles filled with corn and other seasoned vegetables and pepper jack cheese, accompanied by a sour cream dipping sauce.
Be My Guest Bistro offers three taste-tempting soups: miso, Tom Kha chicken and Tom Yum, which has shrimp and mushrooms in a flavorful lemongrass broth. Diners may also select a house salad with homemade ginger soy dressing.
In the mood for maki? Choose California rolls, grilled tuna rolls, Japanese beef rolls and more. Nigiri offerings include Hamashi, sake salmon and Maguro (tuna). Watthanakhonphaiboon plans to expand the sushi menu in the future.
There are oodles of noodles to choose from at the new eatery, including Pho, a Vietnamese beef noodle soup, Chow Mein and Pad Thai, as well as a variety of ramen specials.
Entrée options are ample, with dishes such as Chicken Teriyaki, Mu Shu Pork and Kung Pao Chicken. Sides include Fried Rice and Sesame Noodle Salad, and even sandwiches such as Bahn Mi.
Watthanakhonphaiboon encourages Columbians to be adventurous. “Everyone has different tastes,” she says. “Come and try. We may have something and you think, ah, I might not like that, but you might.”
The restaurant’s hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Be My Guest Bistro has a happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, with half-price appetizers. From 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Be My Guest offers 30 percent off all beer and 50 percent off all hot sake.
Explore the Be My Guest Bistro menu at www.bemyguestbistro.com.