We'd guess that more or often than not, decor takes a back seat to the food offerings in the strong majority of San Francisco restaurants. One exception to this theory is Basil Canteen, the new Thai restaurant in the Public's old SoMa space. Aesthetically, not a whole lot has changed since the last tenant, and that's a good thing; bricks, beams and high ceilings are front and center in all their industrial glory. Simply put, the space is still a beauty. A communal table is the centerpiece of the two-tiered space with a few extra tables for the taking upstairs. The menu is an offshoot of sister restaurant Basil Thai, but includes Thai bar snacks ("gap klaem"), street food and even durian ice cream. Further reading on Basil Canteen in The Dish, and also at Citysearch and Chowhound.
Eater Inside: Basil Canteen