This lovely Thai restaurant, a few blocks south of the Washington Monument, is often overlooked, but the tastefully decorated dining room, attentive service, and fresh and flavorful food make it worth checking out. The lunch menu offers a wide array of options, all for under $8. The vegetable pad thai ($7.50) is heaven, a generous portion of super-peanutty noodles with crisp veggies and perfectly cooked tofu. It's a shame that Ban Thai doesn't offer more Thai restaurant classics on its lunch menu. The sweet and sour shrimp ($7.95) was very good--the Thai version of this dish is lighter and more vegetable-heavy than the Chinese restaurant version--as was the chicken with spicy string beans ( $7.50), but there was a surprising dearth of curries on the lunch menu and the options available didn't specify what kind of curries they were. Fortunately, our disappointment was abated by some of the best coffee we've had, thick and obscenely flavorful ($1.75), and the awesome dumpling special ($4.25). The steamed dumplings were filled with chives, topped with cilantro and peanuts, and served with a sweet dipping sauce. They looked gorgeous--dark green chives bursting through translucent white dumpling--and tasted great.