Editors' pick

Ruan Thai

$$$$ ($14 and under)

Editorial Review

2009 Fall Dining Guide

By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009

Some of the best Thai food in the area is staged in a narrow, mint-green room in Wheaton, with little beyond a wall hanging or two to dress up the place. Not a problem. The layered flavors and contrasting textures in chef Krisana Suchotinunt's cooking provide stimulation aplenty (and also remind us that in her native Thailand, the top chefs tend to be female). If you get only one dish, make it fried watercress scattered with crisp shrimp, squid and cashews. It's an example of great frying and the Thai way with accents. (Love that screaming lime sauce!) But wherever you land on this long list of dishes, you're apt to find something to excite you: tangy chicken lemon grass soup, smoky grilled eggplant with ground shrimp and pork, possibly rich pork belly stir-fried with tender Chinese broccoli and splashed with oyster sauce. Your server might try to talk you out of dishes she thinks non-Thais might not like. Persistence gets you a jumble of catfish, green beans and cauliflower in an intriguing sour curry. There might be a wait for one of the 12 tables; the consolation is food that tends to come out fast, and fab.