As much as we love hole-in-the-wall Asian restaurants, there’s something really nice about a slightly fancier experience.
And that’s exactly what you’ll find at Pakpao Thai, purveyors of some of the most visually appealing and insanely flavorful dishes you may ever eat. The tiny space behind Oak in the Design District (a.k.a. Lower Oak Lawn) is a cozy, colorful (and inexplicably loud) haven for authentic cuisine that really packs a punch.
We loved Pakpao so much that we ate dinner there a few nights ago and immediately returned the following day for lunch. Over the course of two meals shared between a total of seven people, we sampled most of the menu and unanimously loved every single item.
Pork or beef jerky make for fun, snackable, protein-rich starters. So do the delectable chicken meatballs, served four to an order.
The extremely spicy grilled shrimp salad (above) is filling enough for a light lunch, but the addictive heat is enough to get your taste buds craving more.
So share the salad and move on to one of the many superb duck dishes, namely the crispy tamarind variety that deftly combines sweet, spicy and savory in each incredible bite. Or opt for the red curry duck, one of the spiciest dishes on the menu. Yet like everything here, it’s not so spicy that it’ll send you into permanent runny-nose misery.
However, if you’re even the slightest bit leery of setting your tongue on fire, go safe (and still delicious) with the flat rice noodles with sweet soy and chicken. It’s a simple and abundantly filling dish that’s thoroughly satisfying from the first taste of garlicky sauce to the very last bite of crisp Chinese broccoli.
To all other Thai restaurants in Dallas, you’ve officially been put on notice.The bar has been raised.
And liberally sprinkled with bird’s eye chili.
1628 Oak Lawn Avenue, Dallas
Photo Credit: Joy Zhang