With its yuppie crowd, upscale decor, and respectable wine list, Soi 4 would not exactly set off your chow-dar for great Thai food. But it’s not the lame fusion place it appears to be–hardcore Thai flavors are in evidence in the food, says Robert Lauriston, and the kitchen’s not shy with the fish sauce or chiles. Everyone loves the steamed turnip cakes, served nice and crispy with a great mung bean and herb salad. The grilled eggplant and minced pork salad is delicious, served with a nice, intense dressing. So is the crunchy Chinese broccoli with crisp pork belly. Janet thinks the green papaya salad is a masterpiece.

Armoise likes that the kitchen at Soi 4 will take it easy on the chiles for diners with heat-sensitive palates, without dumbing down the other funky, pungent flavors in the dish to please the gringos. And to top it off, you can get good wines for $6 or $7 a glass.

Soi 4 Bangkok Eatery [Rockridge]
5421 College Avenue, between Manila & Kale, Oakland

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Thai in the East Bay: Soi 4 in Rockridge

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