Coconut Creek's Mama Asian Noodle Bar rises high above the humdrum Thai restaurants populating strip malls all across South Florida. That's because its owners, Mike and Lisa Ponluang, have been serving the chili- and lime-inflected cuisine of their homeland to hungry South Floridians for more than 16 years. Sure, the place sports your usual assortment of curries, pad Thais, and kaffir-infused salads, each brimming with enough slow-developed flavor to make anyone's ma proud. But much like the couple's Coco Asian Bistro in Fort Lauderdale, Mama takes traditional Thai dishes and gives them a modern twist. Here you'll find pan-seared Chilean sea bass with bok choy over delicate miso broth or juicy pork chops marinated in lemongrass and garlic. Crisp fried spring rolls filled with shiitakes and chicken are a star — just as they were when Ponluang began serving them at his legendary restaurant Thai Pepper back in the mid-'90s. And when Mama steps out of the Thai mold, look out. Its wide range of noodle dishes give a sly nod to the warm street fare of Southeast Asia, from excellent Vietnamese pho scented with basil and anise to panko-coated kutsu chicken over waves of pipping-hot ramen. Add in chic décor and wallet-friendly prices and Mama really is the mother of all local Thai restaurants.