Daniel Coughlin at Le Thai

The name might sound Irish, but Daniel Coughlin grew up with a Thai mother and grandmother in a restaurant family, and many of the recipes at Le Thai, his insanely popular downtown restaurant, are adaptations of food he grew up eating. That means such fare as Waterfall Beef, three-color curry and pad thai, a stir-fried flat rice noodle dish that has come to be synonymous with Thai food in this country. It’s not hyperbole to say this is the best pad thai you’re likely ever to taste outside Thailand. Most Thai restaurants in America use a pre-made, sweet red sauce to bind it, and after you eat it, you’ll be in a sugar coma. Coughlin’s uses cilantro, garlic and fiery spice. Suffice it to say you may never be content with another version again. While the pad thai is Coughlin’s signature dish, there’s a lot more to eat here; pork jerky, for instance, as well as a beef meatball noodle soup made from a stock simmered with bone, meat and tendon. Details magazine says the dish is the best excuse to “dine on the Strip.” We know better. Off-Strip, Coughlin is the new king.

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