I was recently chatting with someone who spent four years living in Thailand. She's not native Thai -- just spent a chunk of time there. As you might expect, she thinks most Thai restaurants in NYC are crap.
"Ah," I said, "but what about Sripraphai?"
"That place is okay, but it's not oustanding either," she said. "Yes, it's real Thai food, so I give them credit for that. But there's waaaaaay better food than that in Thailand."
I tried to get her to explain and the difference between Thai food here as opposed to Thai food in Thailand. She said, "I was about to say it's like the difference between black-and-white and color, but actually it's more like the difference between being blind and then suddenly being able to see."
Dang. So the next time you're at Sripraphai, imagine it being even better.... Chowhound field trip to Thailand!!