Address: 19847-M Century Blvd., Germantown, MD 20874
Opening Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Thursday 11 to 3. Open for dinner Monday through Thursday 4:30 to 10. Open for lunch and dinner Friday 11 to 10:30, Saturday 11:30 to 10:30, Sunday noon to 9:30.
Best Dishes 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.
Price Details: Starters $4.95 to $8.95, entrées $9.95 to $18.95.
Why go: This colorful cafe, from the original owners of Rockville’s popular Benjarong, has vaulted to the area’s top rank of Thai restaurants in its first year, thanks to smart sourcing, fine saucing, and a kitchen that excels in a variety of styles.
What to get: The area’s best larb, a piquant hash of ground chicken, lime, and peppers; “street style” barbecue-pork skewers, plump, juicy, smoky, and rich; chive dumplings; peppercorn shrimp, delicately cooked with young black peppercorns and thin bands of celery in a clean-tasting brown sauce; kao kha moo, slow-simmered pork roast with pickled lettuce.
Best for: Casual celebrations; good vegetarian dining.
Insider tip: Desserts seem to be an afterthought; consume your calories early.