Thai Star Shines
An unassuming Thai spot serves up spectacularly authentic food, making good on its name.
Don't be fooled by the garish sign for Thai Star. Yes, it may look like a erstwhile bank and, no, the parking lot will not be packed, but inside you'll find some of the most perfectly pitched, authentic Thai food around. And there's plenty of competition.
The vaulted dining room is simple and classy, with just a few of the Buddha-and-fake-flower touches that you'll find in other Asian spots around town. Go straight for the Tod Man Pla appetizer. The crispy fish cakes have a pleasant Thai chili tingle and citrus kick thanks to lemongrass, spices and herbs.
The best part of the dish is the cucumber salad, which features crunchy cucumbers roughly mixed with finely diced raw onion and crushed peanuts. The sweet, vinegary sauce almost does a quick pickle of the cucumbers, and it is divine.
Drunken Noodles are among the highlights for the main dishes. A wide, massive bowl of translucent rice noodles are tossed with veggies in a dark, sweet hoisin-esque sauce. Long beans, red and green bell peppers and carrots give the dish lots enough visual seduction, and are a match for the thick sauce. Unusually crunchy cabbage adds a nice textural counterpoint.
All of the main dishes, including the recommended curries, come with your choice of protein, so it is easy to pick and share. You might tread carefully with the heat. If you ask the chef Wishuda Viriyayuthakorn to make it "Thai-spicy," that's what you'll get. These dishes are nothing if not authentic.