Best Thai Restaurant (2006)

Nakhon Thai

It's a distinctive notch of Thai splendor. You have statues and statuettes of gods and warriors, reliefs of beautiful Thai women and photographs of Thai royalty. Plus, there is the tinkle and splashing of fountains in the entrance. Furnishings are all Thai imports, from the glossy web-worked wood chairs to the god sporting multiple limbs engraved on an urn. But it's the food that gets you, from the supple and greaseless sweet corn patties to the delicious steamed whole fish ever threatening a potent chili sting, to the rich and creamy panang riddled with red chili and kaffir leaves. Pad Thai is exhilarating: supple and separate noodles and sprouts (no sticky pad rat's nest) and real peanut debris (no Jif or Skippy), all draped in a smooth supple omelet, so you can box up what's left and have it for breakfast. This is the coolest Thai indulgence since Thai stick.

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