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Lers Ros

A favorite Tenderloin Thai spot gets a new home on Hayes Street.

Hayes Valley
The snob’s common complaint about Thai food in the city—that it’s overly sweetened to appease the Western palate—runs up against reality at Lers Ros, a Tenderloin landmark that now has a second outpost in a neighbor­hood where chilies once feared to tread. Here in Hayes Valley, Tom Silargorn sticks to his fiery brand of cooking, using sugar as an extra, not a star: It’s the cool foil in the hot sauce on his barbecue chicken; it’s the yin to his duck larb’s lime-and-chili-powder twang. His encyclopedic menu includes exotic entries; stir-fried garlic frog tastes like very tender chicken. But even standard items such as tom kha kai—a comforting soup in which coconut and lemongrass tussle for attention—come across as different: They’re more balanced than most versions you’ve tried before. In this higher-rent location, Lers Ros offers an expanded wine list, but there’s nothing fancy about the new space. It’s simple, clean-lined, largely nondescript—a slightly dressed-up spin-off of a restaurant that does anything but dumbed-down food. 307 Hayes St. (bet. Gough and Franklin sts.), S.F., 415-874-9661 $$ RW HH

Josh Sens is San Francisco's restaurant critic.