The first time I ate pad thai was back in 1998 when I lived in Omaha. My work environment was somewhat hectic (to put it mildly), so a handful of my coworkers and I would venture out for lunch whenever we had the chance. Thai Kitchen was one of our absolute favorite places to go. It is a super tiny little specialty grocery store/restaurant and it is about as authentic as they come. It is a great little place. I will never forget the way I used to absolutely INHALE the chicken pad thai when it was set before me. We would all sit around our tiny table hardly saying a word to each other because we were so intensely focused on the food we were shoveling into our mouths.
I have eaten many delicious pad thai meals at various places since, but I have never found one that quite meets Thai Kitchen's standards. Sawatdee's is probably the closest I have found. When searching for good Thai food, my advice is to go authentic! If going authentic isn't an option, there are a few chain restaurants that make decent pad thai, as well. One of those places is Pei Wei. It is close to our house, so when we are in the "Asian cuisine" sort of mood, this is usually where we go. And I rarely order anything besides the shrimp or chicken pad thai.
Pei Wei's version of this dish contains: Thai sweet & sour sauce, tofu, bean sprouts, scallions, egg, crushed peanuts, lime, cilantro, rice noodles and meat of choice.
I usually have to ask that it be made spicier than it is typically prepared, and sometimes I get crazy and mix in chili paste, as well. I'm not happy unless I'm sweating!