It was only a matter of time before a Lotus of Siam (see below) alum left the nest to open his own place. Located in west Chinatown, this small, modern storefront tends to get busy late at night, when chefs and other industry folk get off their shifts. They’ve got a few Northern specialties here, but leave that to Lotus of Siam. Here, the dishes you’re already familiar with are the must-haves. Watch out for spice levels, as they’re serious about the term “Thai spicy.” Crab lettuce wraps, for example, offer a kick to the throat that will surprise even chili-heads. Classic tom yum soup with shrimp is fragrant, and will clear you right up if you’re having sinus issues. Try to get there early enough to sample the nua dad diew, a tender beef jerky served with a sweet chili fish sauce that often runs out by the end of the night. After you eat it here, you’ll realize you’ve never known pad thai was supposed to be this nuanced. The owner, Bank Atacharawan was the former general manager and sommelier at Lotus, and he’s transferred his knowledge here, with a well-curated list heavy on white, sweeter wines that complement Thai spices, at reasonable price points.