I was worried when a bunch of recent posts indicated that Dok Bua was on a downhill trend. Had a humongous lunch there yesterday and I think it's as good as ever. Try to overlook the crazy holiday decorations -- the service was sweet and attentive and the value is just great.
Beef salad was spicy sour salty crisp and cool all at once. The quality of beef at Khao Sarn is a notch higher but it's also twice as much money.
Sliced Pork with thai basil was also good. Crispy duck was great -- fried, sliced and served with a tangy fish-saucy sauce. I love that dish.
The only mis-step, and it was probably our fault, was the Beef Rendang. I remember this dish being very good there, better than Penang's version. It's not on the menu but since we've had it before we special requested. What we got was a servicable wet beef curry with bamboo shoots and a lot of toasted coconut. But I prefer my Rendang drier and more pasty/intense. I think the kitchen just tried to accomodate us but they should have said no because it wasn't really the dish we wanted.
We definitely over-ordered. We had one too many dishes and normal people could eat just 2 and be happy, but the whole tab came to $23 each. I'm always torn between Dok Bua and Khao Sarn when I want excellent Thai -- and there are a few dishes at KS that I love (salmon hau mauk and the miang kum) -- but Dok Bua is still excellent value for money.