West Coast born chef/owner Napaporn Pitayatonakarn straddles traditional and modern Thai cuisine effortlessly in this contemporary dining room, where Thai musical instruments double as wall art. Rediscover old favorites with the kitchen's take on spicy lemongrass-and-lime-scented salads: green papaya with crunchy ground peanuts; rib-eye steak with chili and parched rice; or classic larb gai, minced chicken with scallions. Or consider a satay of chicken, shrimp, beef, pork, or portobello. Tod mun, curried fish patties, are beautifully done. So are familiar stir-fries like pad kra-prow, with a choice of meats, redolent of Thai basil.
Standouts among the restaurant's original plates are kanom pak gard, turnip cakes fried with eggs, scallions, and sprouts; nuer takai, wok-fried slivers of beef with roasted chili paste; grilled lamb ribs with tamarind bean sauce; and kang talay, a lineup of seafood in green curry. Vegetables aren't neglected–most plates arrive with a heap of carrot salad, tempura long beans, or Asian greens, and there are several vegetarian options.
Sweet Basil, 4910 Fairmont Ave., Bethesda; 301-657-7997; sweetbasilthaigourmet.com. Open daily for lunch and dinner.