Photo by Robert Cohen, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Rice Thai Bistro

You might notice it with the green curry, beautifully balanced between coconut-milk sweetness and chile heat, with the just-right bursts of basil, galangal and makrut lime. Or maybe you’ll fix upon the salt-and-pepper shrimp, tender and sweet beneath their sharp-elbowed accents of scallion and jalapeño. Or, hey, maybe you’ll order crab rangoon and smile at the presentation — cigar-like tubes of fried rice paper instead of the usual wontons — and then realize that it makes for a better dish, with a proper crunch-to-cream-cheese ratio in each bite. The menu at tiny Rice Thai Bistro doesn’t differ from most other Thai restaurants in town, but the married team of Bryan and Nina Prapaisilpa attack the familiar dishes with such exuberance and attention to detail that you can’t help but fall in love with the cuisine all over again.

Last year's ranking: New

Opened: 2014

Must order: Green curry ($8 lunch, $10.95 dinner)