(Panang curry is a coconut-milk curry enhanced with ground peanuts — a Malaysian touch.) On the other hand, the veg curry corner ($9.95) — a crock of soupy, basil-scented green curry laden with broccoli florets, chunked eggplant, snow peas, and green beans — passed vegetarian scrutiny like a traveler, divested of shoes, watch, belt buckle, loose change, and toothpaste, sailing through a security checkpoint at the airport.
Given the egg-shaped chairs, it follows that we would find an omelet ($6.95) on the noontime menu — a vegetarian omelet no less, filled with mixed greens, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, and tofu and given a definite Southeast Asian perfume by ginger and lemongrass. But the wider possibilities of lunchtime are grouped under the rubric "Afternoon Delight," which provides (for $7.25) a choice of starter and of main course, along with soup, salad, rice, and seasonal fruit. One day's soup, of celery and tofu in a pale vegetable broth, we found to be no better than serviceable, the salad was a wallflower heap of mixed greens, and the fruit consisted of some grapes and orange wedges. But the fish cake, though texturally a bit of a rubber sponge, was intensely tasty (and a pretty caramel color), while a red vegetable curry was rich and just spicy enough to conceal the plebeian character of its carrot-and-potato ballast.
Thai bistro. I choke slightly on this expression while accepting that, at least in its American sense, it does apply to Be My Guest. The place captures just the right balance of hominess and style: its hours are liberal and its prices moderate, and it draws (especially on weekend evenings) a diverse crowd, tilting toward youth and bubbling with energy. And that's everything you always wanted to know. SFBG
BE MY GUEST THAI BISTRO
Dinner: daily, 4–10:30 p.m.
Lunch: daily, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
951 Clement, SF