Best Thai Restaurant - 2007
Readers' Choice: The King & I
Thai food, when prepared well, is nothing less than majestic, which explains why the main school of cookery is called Royal Thai Cuisine. And there's no better place to be served a kingly plate of Thai flavor (without the Thai heat, unless you want it but we know of few non-Thai people who can handle the full nuclear scorch of authentically enflamed Thai dishes) than the Blue Elephant in Clayton. Chef de cuisine Jack Suebsawangkul was sous chef at Arun's in Chicago, largely regarded as one of the best Thai restaurants in the nation it was the kind of position that in former days would make someone say, "Why's he in St. Louis?" but these days makes us say, "Ah, of course, and now he's in St. Louis." What makes the Blue Elephant more exciting than the legion of other Thai spots in town? Two words: food carving. Suebsawangkul is a master of the intricate Thai technique of making a swan out of bok choy, a tiger from a carrot, a rose from a watermelon you get the idea. That tiny touch of class sets a new standard for either the Clayton business lunch or relaxed dinner of pad prik or tom yum soup. The restaurant may be a pleasantly unassuming Clayton storefront, but its easy charm belies the sophisticated flavors within. Among St. Louis Thai restaurants, Blue Elephant is the sovereign.