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July 29, 2008 at 7:29 AM

Thai-ing one on at Pen Thai

Now that Pen Thai’s sister-restaurant Chantanee is closed (soon to re-open in swankier Bellevue digs) it’s slammed more than usual here in charming old-town Bothell. I can certainly see why. The contemporary copper-toned design is as appealing as what’s on the plate, and Pen offers everything from an expansive wine list to fancy cocktails to my finger-food favorite miang kum — bits and bites of lime, coconut, dried shrimp, fresh ginger among them, meant to be wrapped in spinach leaves for a festival of flavors:

Sure, you may go on about the signature crispy garlic chicken or the emerald curry with pork, but what about the crisp, moist “Golden Duck” sizzled and sauced tableside — just like at one of those old-school French restaurants?

And howzabout the classic Thai beef salad with its perfectly charred edges?

Or daily specials like Dungeness crab fried rice — delicate and airy yet still packing heat:

My friend Gary Thai’d one on, too, and got drunk on these drunken noodles:

And the only thing we weren’t nuts about (by comparison, anyway) was this veg-smothered whole-fried rainbow trout:

You been? What do you think? And if not, what’s keeping you?

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