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Cilantro Bento Box
The Bento Boxes and other Combination Specials are good values at Cilantro.
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Cilantro Thai Chicken
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Cilantro Vegetable Tempura
Thai Chicken skewers and Vegetable Tempura make a complete Asian meal.
I am an unrepentant fan of Japanese cuisine. For one thing, I love fresh raw fish. In fact, I pretty much limit my cooked fish diet to salmon, walleye and perch. But if it's raw, I'll eat anything from the sea. For that reason, I think it's great that a restaurant featuring Thai and Japanese dishes has opened in the space that used to house Piatto Novo on South Main Street, next to the Canal Park baseball stadium. It doesn't hurt that this restaurant is still one of the classiest dining rooms in Akron, either.
Now that I've been there several times, I can report that Cilantro is one of the highlights on the Akron dining scene, and that it fills and upscale niche among downtown choices. Although I am not as big a fan of the Thai offerings on the menu, I find them a delightful change of pace every so often. I think the thing that sets all Asian cooking apart from other ethnic cuisines is purity of flavors. While Thai is more spiced than Japanese recipes, the basic ingredients always show through at Cilantro.
As you might expect, the menu features a number of noodle, stir fry and curry preparations. People with nut allergies need to be aware that many Thai dishes are unique in their use of peanuts and cashews. Coconut and various fruits also play a large role, as it is the juxtaposition of sweet ingredients with various levels of hot peppers that is the hallmark of Southeast Asian foods. All dishes can be customized to your own level of heat tolerance.
On the Japanese side of the menu, sushi and sashimi play a big role, although there are also a number of house specialty recipes, and the usual teriyaki and tempura variations. In fact, I tried a vegetable tempura that was remarkable, and combined with a couple of meat or fish appetizers, creates a fine meal. I think the best values at Cilantro, however, are the various combinations and Bento Box creations. With these, you get to try a number of different dishes singly, and in blends, sort of like a chef's tasting menu.
Cilantro dishes are competitively priced, which is a plus for a downtown location in a finely decorated business space. Generally, I think you'll pay about the same for equal preparations in many of the other local Thai and Japanese establishments, even the carryouts, but without the ambiance. That gives Cilantro a competitive edge, which is a good thing as downtown restaurants all have the downside of finding parking that doesn't add too much to the cost of the evening.
If you want to have a look at the complete menu before booking a table, here is a link to the Cilantro web site: http://www.cilantrothai.com/