BEST THAI RESTAURANT (1999)
Sawatdee remains the queen of all local Thai restaurants with its three-pronged crown. Prong one: an expansive menu made up of nicely done dishes that run the gamut from simple to sophisticated. Prong two: that elegant, brightly saturated decor. Prong three: the ever-friendly service. Competition--from Uptown's new Chiang Mai Thai and St. Paul's much beloved Ruam Mit Thai--has been keeping the Thai scene lively, and both places make a couple of dishes (including pad thai) that surpass Sawatdee's. But until they ramp up the totality of their dining experiences, they will just tend to highlight how powerful the famed Sawatdee hospitality really is.