Spoiler alert: I like Bozeman's Lemongrass Thai. If you want to know why, read on:
Bozeman's long wait for Thai food came to an end late in 2009. Not just a fix for the occasional pad thai or Thai iced tea, the restaurant promises diners something more...authenticity. Plus, you'll find an inspired food-focused wine list. Owners Pam and Shannon seem completely fixated on providing an authentic, personal experience.
From the hand-carved woodwork to the gleaming Buddha statue near the kitchen, the decor and the staff help make the dining room a warm and inviting place to venture off to the far-away tastes of Thai cuisine. Aromas of fresh herbs, spices, and curries fill the air. Food-friendly Alsatian rieslings and Gewürztraminers fill the wine list (more on this in a moment).
According to Pam, the menu comes straight from her family. There are rich green and Panaeng curries, fresh noodle dishes, and scorchingly hot specialties for the adventurous. It is worth noting that the rich sauces, such as the green curry, don't behave like American or French sauce. A fully emulsified sauce would be seen as "fake" according to Pam. Thai sauces, like those cooked up at Lemongrass, often have a light bloom of oil on the surface. This might be sacrilege for American gravy, but it is just right for Thai. Time to re-adjust our western palates.
Also noteworthy is the Lemongrass wine list. Weighted (as it should be) on spice and food-friendly Rieslings and Gewürztraminers, the list is as thoughtful as it is cuisine appropriate.
For red-wine-only types or those that associate rieslings as cheap/sweet swill, it is again time to re-adjust your thinking. These wines are some of the most food-friendly wines on the planet. While most are technically not sweet (as defined as no residual sugars, alcohol only), these wines often come off as "sweet" on the palate, which is just thing to have while enjoying the Spicy Basil (Pad Kra Prao, pictured below). The Gentil Hugel Alsatian wine is a standout on the menu: inexpensive, unique, and a perfect pair with many of the dishes.
My recommendation is to get a couple of friends together, work your way down the menu, and order a couple different bottles of wine. Try the wine before you take a bite of food, and notice how the wine changes once the spice lights up your palate.