Details

Ruan Thai

11407 Amherst Ave.
Wheaton, MD

301-942-0075

Neighborhood: Wheaton

Cuisines: Thai

Opening Hours:
Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday 11:30 to 10. Open for dinner Sunday 4 to 10.

Price Range: Inexpensive

Dress: Informal

Reservations: Not Needed

Best Dishes:
Scallion dumplings; yum watercress; pad Thai; deep-fried whole fish (often sea bass); duck in red curry; sticky rice with mango.

Special Features: Kid Friendly

Cheap Eats 2011: Ruan Thai

Thanks to a recent renovation, this once-drab Wheaton gem, now in its 16th year, is not only bigger and better; it's also more conducive to the kind of leisurely evening the cooking has always deserved.

You won't find a more consistent restaurant of its kind. Or a more authentic one. Unlike Thai restaurants that equate spicy food with authentic food, the aim here is a balance among disparate elements. The best dishes distinguish themselves with a bright and popping intensity as opposed to a scorching heat.

The kitchen is particularly skilled with the fry basket, which produces such standouts as angel wings--a virtuosic preparation in which a chicken wing is turned into a crab/pork/chicken lollipop--a light fritter of watercress and shrimp, crispy whole fish in red curry, and cinnamon-rubbed duck with basil.

Also good: Chicken larb, tangy ground meat dressed with onions, cilantro and lime; dried fish with spicy lime dressing; sautéed mussels with black beans and ginger.

Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner.