First look: Real Thai opens in Wheat Ridge

Years ago, in a small strip mall just off I-70 and Kipling, there resided a tiny Thai restaurant -- the name escapes me -- but I definitely remember the food, a jumble of exquisitely spicy curries, slippery noodles stir-fried with vegetables and strong-smelling bowls of steaming soups. That restaurant is long, long gone, but now, in that same small mall, where "For lease" signs far outweigh tenants, another Thai joint -- Real Thai -- has taken up residence at 4980 Kipling.

See also: Denver's five best Thai restaurants

The dining room, which is still a work in progress, features bamboo accents, walls hued chocolate, standard Western wooden tables, a few booths, potted greenery and a small, simple Buddha shrine. In the near future, nearly half of the square footage will be devoted to low carved tables surrounded by traditional Thai cushioned floor seating and bambooed walls.

And the kitchen turns out routinely excellent -- and real -- Thai dishes, including chile-enriched curries, crisp-edged, deep-fried Thai crab cakes harboring minces of pork, shrimp and chicken and tart salads glistening fresh herbs.

Real Thai is open daily for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner is served between 5 and 9 p.m. Here's a first look at what's on the plate.

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