Late last year, while the dining world was chirping about trendy gastropubs and food trucks, former Benjarong owners Fred and CiCi Hart quietly opened this strip-mall oasis. Its meditative interior—nature-inspired colors, a rock wall, and gallery-worthy photographs of Thai street life—fits the restaurant’s name (sabai sabai means “relax relax”). But it doesn’t apply to the kitchen’s bold flavors, which aren’t muddled with MSG and come out sharp, spicy, and intense. The three-part menu (classics, street food, and vegetarian) is long, and its many strengths rank the place among Washington’s top Thai restaurants.
Don’t miss: Larb, a spicy mix of ground chicken, lime juice, and peppers; chive dumplings; fried corn cakes with a cucumber condiment; peppercorn shrimp; pork skewers with a sweet/spicy dipping sauce.