The gateway to authentic Thai cuisine begins with a close scrutiny of the menu. Appetizers like shumai dumplings and Thai-style meatballs, as opposed to usual suspects of crab rangoon and spring rolls, indicates things are looking promising.
Fifteen types of noodles in a bowl and a Thai specialties section of the menu seal the deal. Add to that a typical case of decor schizophrenia: bright orange walls, cream-colored plain Jane countertops and shiny wooden chairs with rounded backs. Yes, this is the right place.
With the exception of two German-speaking students, the joint finds only Thai couples and families dining quietly on a Saturday afternoon, another good sign.
Thai ice coffee arrives promptly in a tall glass with a layer of cream on top and a big straw. Next, noodles in a bowl, what else? Sukiyaki ($7), a large steaming bowl filled to the brim with bok choy, funky glass noodles, and bits of poached egg looks like a work of art begging to be destroyed.
Service, like the food, lives up to the eatery's name. You will be treated like royalty here and not made to feel odd that you don't speak Thai.
Things to try on a second visit: fish maw soup ($8), which contains fish maw, chicken quail egg, and shitake mushrooms. And the yum woon send - steamed bean thread noodles mixed with shrimp, ground pork, red onion and lime juice.
Weird and good, just like it ought to be.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Marla Seidell