Ethnic Eats: Elephant Hut

March 29 2011, 11:30 AM

With Khow Thai, Buddha Cafe, NaRaYa Thai and Sushi, and Chy Thai Cuisine, it’s easy to find great Thai food in Boulder. But great Thai dishes and atmosphere? Now that’s another story.

Enter the Elephant Hut, a hidden gem in the Steel Yards Business Park, with a fascinating twist: The dining room is adorned with artwork painted by elephants. Looping on the flat-screen just behind the bar is a video showing the elephants from northeastern Thailand at work. They don’t just fling paint; they really draw pictures—of trees, flowers, even their own self-portraits—using their trunks.

Equally impressive are many of the dishes on executive chef Pi Kasemsant’s menu. To best navigate the offerings, steer clear of the fried dishes (these tend to be greasy), and opt for the deeply savory Seeds of Paradise entrée with toasted cashews, red peppers, broccoli, carrots, a nuanced roasted chile sauce, and your choice of chicken, beef, or tofu. Add the refreshing Asian pear salad with organic mixed greens, planks of chicken, and a killer peanut vinaigrette, or order the pho-like noodle soup with gai lan, bean sprouts, duck or slow-roasted beef short rib, and you're sure to go home happy.

2500 30th St., Boulder, 303-991-1899