Dara Thai Lao Cuisine 1549 Shattuck Ave./Cedar St.; Gourmet Ghetto. In warm weather, the front patio here is a delight. Vines and exotic flowers mingle with weathered-wood tables, providing a mini jungle through which the filtered street-scene view is mesmerizing. Particularly good dishes include priking (sautéed chili string beans with shrimp), pad pet makeur (grilled eggplant sautéed in a spicy sauce), and flavorful spicy Panang red curry with fried tofu and veggies. Sticky rice puffs--deep-fried balls of curry-flavored rice--are a must. The deep-fried sweet potato appetizer and pad Thai noodles are also very good, and a sweet Thai iced tea provides the perfect lift.