2000 NE 40th, 460-2682

At first glance, the interior of the Chameleon seems like a cross between a jungle habitat and restaurant, but as the sun sets the plant life and white linen blend into a less confusing ambiance. Volkswagen-size bouquets of sexy, fresh, purple orchids are balanced with mile-high tabletop candelabras, painting a scene of sultry indulgence.

Indulgence doesn't come cheaply. A meal for two, consisting of a bottle of Dry Creek fume blanc, New Zealand mussels appetizer, a large bowl of tum yum soup, two entrees, desert, and a single glass of 10-year-old Dow's tawny port, came to roughly $90. You could do it much cheaper, or double it, depending on your budget. My companion's choice, the roasted duck, came simmered in red curry, coconut milk, bits of pineapple with whole grapes, red pepper and sweet basil, and was presented encircling a hill of fragrant jasmine rice. I chose the chef's special, a dazzling hazelnut-and-capers crusted catfish, with grilled squash strips on a buttery bed of polenta, garnished with fresh mint and delicate dill sprigs.

Unlike the average Thai restaurant, Chameleon doesn't limit itself with common Pad Thai fare. With a few suggestions from the efficiently friendly servers, diners can create an all-Thai cuisine adventure, a continental feast, or mix and match to suit all tastes. For instance, a Thai-theme dinner could begin with an Asian vermicelli and shrimp salad roll move on to a stunning bowl of tum yum soup, followed by Thai-basil peanut sauce pasta, or zinging cilantro salmon.

For a continental approach, one could start with a bruschetta appetizer, toss in a side Caesar salad, and finish with summer squash homemade ravioli, or oxtail braised in port wine with punchy Crimini mushrooms, miniature potatoes, and tender soy beans. To put it straight, Chameleon is a can't-miss scenario.