Entering Pakpao was refreshing, and I'm not just talking about the fresh lychee juice I ordered. The space is light and warm (probably due to an entire wall of windows along its side), and the staff is friendly, if almost too knowledgeable.
Menus are printed in transliterated Thai, English and then actual Thai characters followed by a short, English description. If you're unfamiliar with Thai food (or even if you know it well), you may have to ask your server to describe a dish so you know what to expect. Or just go with it; a visit to Pakpao is an adventure, after all.
I would only caution you to respect the asterisk. Dishes with a little star next to their titles are HOT. And according to our server, the spice level cannot be adjusted to your liking. So watch out.
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Prices at Pakpao range from $2 for a small side of rice to $21 for a soft-shell crab entree. Most entrees are around $12. The menu has starters, salads and soups, sides, snacks, entrees, noodle dishes, vegetable, desserts, house-made sodas, juices, beer and wine, traditional Thai beverages and a very intriguing cocktail list. It's a lot to take in, so I'm thinking multiple visits are likely needed to become fully acquainted with Pakpao.
But here's a little bit of what we enjoyed, to get you started.
Pakpao is located somewhat behind Oak at 628 Oak Lawn Ave., Suite 120, in the Design District.