By Becky Billingsley
Wednesday, June 13, 2012, Myrtle Beach - The restaurant at 1604 N. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach has had many names in recent years, and Red Basil Thai Cuisine is the newest.
The layout has not changed appreciably from when it was Char-Koon or Bar King Frog & Grill. A bar is to the right, booths are on the left, tables are in the rear and more tables are out on a covered patio.
The restaurant wasn't busy at 12:30 p.m. on a recent Thursday afternoon, and the uniformed staff was eager to serve. Lunch specials are offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
The lunch menu starts with appetizers priced $3.50-$5 including Steamed Dumplings with pork, shrimp and vegetables; Fried Tofu served with sweet and sour sauce and peanut sauce; Pot Stickers; and Crispy Vegetable Roll. The Chicken Satay appetizer is presented attractively with the skewers in a glass jar, and to the side are a rich and thick peanut dipping sauce and a ramekin filled with an extremely pretty vegetable slaw dressed in a sweet vinegar bath.
Lunch soups are $2-$3, like Miso, Hot & Sour, Chicken Coconut, Vegetable with Tofu and Crab.
Lunch entrees are $7-$10 and include soup or salad and noodles or fried rice. The side salad is crispy, cold and attractive, while generously portioned entrees are also plated with an eye to presentation. There are curries and specialty dishes like Beef Udon and Pad Thai, and meat choices include beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, squid and "seafood." There's also a vegetarian option.
Red Basil also bills itself as a martini and sushi bar, and several lunchtime sushi rolls are $10, like Red Basil Roll with shrimp tempura, crabstick (fake crab), tuna, avocado, eel sauce and ponzu sauce; or the Maui Roll with eel, cucumber, cream cheese, mango, eel sauce and almonds.
The dinner menu is extensive, and is shown below in its entirety.