In the finest Thai food, spices all play their positions, each identifiable, all working as a team. Curries and noodle dishes at the unassuming, color-splashed Noodle Boat are delicious, big league examples. Little touches, like lime leaves torn rather than cut for more flavor in soups and a pungent, hand-mixed chili paste, make Noodle Boat a standout. Mieng kum is essential, a thoroughly authentic roll-your-own appetizer: roasted coconut, crushed peanuts, lime wedges (leave the peel on), red onion, and Thai chilies are wrapped into emerald, nutty cha plu leaves hard to find outside Thailand. (Word has it the owners return there regularly to stock up on several ingredients.) It’s an explosion on your palate. Shrimp and chicken tumble with steamed banana blossoms, roasted coconut, lemongrass slivers, and cilantro in the Queen of Banana, a house specialty. Warning: They play serious with heat here. Venture beyond "medium" and you’re toying with fire.