A sort of culinary bastard, Thai restaurants are regularly lauded for their cheap prices, stomach-bursting portions of noodles and indifferent attitude toward patrons in sweat pants. But when it comes to fine-tuned cuisine, they usually don't make the hot list. TAC Quick bucks that trend head-on.
Its cryptic acronym stands for "Thai Authentic Cuisine," and the restaurant's menus, on par with any of Bangkok's finest spots, do little to sweep that fact under the rug. Chef Andy Aroonrasameruang presents a regular menu, a specials chalkboard and a by-request Thai-language menu. Whichever you choose to work from is a fine decision.
The standard menu does classics fresh and well: Watery curries taste buttery; pad thai is no longer a mushy mess; and salads come accented with true ingredients like dried shrimp. The small specials chalkboard takes you one step closer to Thailand, with entrees like wild boar pad ped. Break into the Thai menu and you'll be eating real-deal dishes like khai khluk ka-pi naa, shrimp paste-seasoned rice served with sweet pork, green mango, omelet, dried shrimp and red onion.
Better still, you get to dine in a setting that's nothing if not urban cool. Dishes are artfully plated, and the restaurant features a sleek geometry, crisp white walls and big windows that impart plenty of light. Prices are typically Thai (read: not much), though some specials can cost $12-$15. BYOB.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Schwartz