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January 2005: Dungrat’s

This Thai restaurant burst on the scene 18 years ago.


This Thai restaurant burst on the scene 18 years ago. The area's small, family-run restaurants suddenly were challenged by an upscale place that soared beyond the standard dishes of beef, pork, chicken, and fish with basil, broccoli, and chili paste with string beans. Duangrat's offered far more elegant and elaborate dishes, and it served them in a dining room that boasted white tablecloths and fresh flowers.

Duangrat's does list the standard dishes—and cooks them as well as anyone—but it pays to search out the unexpected. Consider ordering Shell Sea—shredded shrimp and crabmeat with coconut and cilantro layered in crispy rice paper—or Salmon Purse, curried salmon with potatoes and onions in a crisp rice-paper shell. For unusual main courses visit the part of the menu titled "Our Signatures" and "Originals by the Sea." There you will find Chicken Horapa, breast of chicken sautéed in roasted chili paste with horapa basil served with stir-fried peppered egg noodles; Cape Tato Rockfish, fried garlic-crusted whole rockfish served with a chili-lemon sauce; and spicy Phuket Shrimp, tempura-fried shrimp with a chili-garlic sauce. Try to include one of the curries and a preparation of vegetables or tofu, such as stir-fried Tofu Bhram in a spicy peanut sauce.

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