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Originally published Friday, February 8, 2013 at 5:30 AM

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Little Uncle delivers big Thai taste

Capitol Hill’s Little Uncle serves some of Western Washington’s best Thai cuisine.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Little Uncle

Thai

1509 E. Madison St., Seattle (206-329-1503 or littleuncleseattle.com).

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.- 8 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.

Etc: Visa and MasterCard. Street parking. Wheelchair accessible.

Prices: $-$$

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In December, chefs Wiley Frank and his wife, PK, temporarily closed their walk-up window joint, Little Uncle, to chill out for six weeks.

From the reaction on social media, you would have thought it was the end of the world.

Their restless fans will be pleased to know that Little Uncle is back, the owners refreshed from chilling out in Bangkok and brimming with new menu ideas.

Their comfort food, inspired by the northern region of Thailand and other areas, remains a couple of notches better than your neighborhood Thai carry out. They make their own curry and tamarind sauces and hand press the coconuts.

The menu: The short menu features phad thai, braised beef cheeks on a bao bun, khao soi gai (egg noodles with curry chicken) and a few rotating board specials, including crab fried rice. Buns and desserts cost from $3.30-$5, entrees $8.80 and specials about $10.

What to write home about: Khao soi gai is a staple. A chicken dish redolent of fish sauce and fresh curry, over a bed of chewy egg noodles and pickled mustard and topped with deep fried noodle strands and shallots for a crunch, is one of the signature dishes.

Its basic Phad thai here is more nuanced and less greasy than your everyday-three-spicy-star Thai restaurant. The fresh rice noodles, almost an al dente bite, comes with shallots, tamarind, egg and tofu, garlic chives, bean sprouts. No meat. Comes with sides of lime wedge, sugar, pepper and roasted peanuts that you top to your liking. That crab fried rice, when available, is not to be missed, with meaty chunks of Dungeness crab.

What to skip: The food does not travel well. Not a good option for carry out unless your destination is only a few blocks or a five-minute drive away.

The setting: A few stools and four small tables are plopped along the sidewalk in front of the shack. Service is fast and friendly. Online ordering, which is encouraged, is efficient.

Summing up: An order of braised beef bun, pad thai, curry chicken egg noodles, Dungeness crab fried rice, sticky rice-custard dessert and thai tea totaled $40.10, enough food to feed three. It’s easily one of the best and most nuanced Thai joints in Western Washington.

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle

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