Many pan-Asian restaurants have mammoth menus with dishes that read a lot alike. You’ve got your Kung Pao chicken, shrimp tempura, Pad Thai, moo shu pork.

Preparation quality may vary, but it’s a little like paint by numbers. You know the rough outline, and the ingredients are standard issue. It’s just a matter of how the cook applies the paint.

Then there’s Long Grain, which, by comparison, is original artwork.

The small storefront eatery without an obvious sign is easy to miss as you enter downtown Camden. The minimal but intriguing menu lists four appetizers, one soup, eight noodle plates, four stir-fries and a daily curry. Dishes include native ingredients such as Maine crab (in fried rice) and mussels (in a coconut lemongrass broth).

The tiny restaurant, which seats only 30 (including seven at the bar), has been open a little more than a year. The owners are Thai, but the menu offers food that includes elements of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and even Indian fare.

Homestyle and street food is how husband-and-wife owners Razin “Bas” Nakjaroen and Paula Palakawong describe their offerings. But to Mainers who must dine inside for most of the year, it’s Asian comfort food. You want to curl up with these unusual but not too challenging dishes.

Take, for instance, the pan-fried rice cakes, which came as a tier of three squares glistening with dabs of sauce and surrounded by a spray of lightly sauteed bean sprouts ($7.50 appetizer). They were softly textured, profuse in garlic and hot chili, and colored by macerated chives to a deep green. Bite into these and sigh.

In November, local greens translate into stir-fried kale, chard or collards in a Pad Seaw. Ours was a lovely bowl of inch-wide, house-made rice noodles, squishy yet not soggy, and surrounded by those emerald leaves in a sweetish-brown sauce ($12.50, which includes a choice of chicken, pork or tofu).

Steamed dumplings were dense spheres of blended ground pork, shrimp and local seaweed (this last was mighty hard to detect), thinly wrapped with wonton. The interior was too taut for my preference, but no doubt these hold up well on the avenues of Shanghai ($7).

Big pieces of cabbage kimchi, slices of chewy pork belly and chunks of tofu filled a bowl of thick homemade ramen noodles in a chili-flecked broth of intense flavor, topped with a poached egg to make a homey bowl of fire and happiness ($12.50).

The beef massaman curry was the masterpiece in this show of originality and authenticity. The giant pieces of meat were braised to fall-apart striations of tenderness, and the sauce with coconut milk added sweet to a spicy mixture.

Local carrots and small whole potatoes made up the advertised root vegetables, and a cucumber ajad (relish) added just a touch of cool acid and crunch. It was a killer dish, and a steal at $15.

Pad Thai with chicken ($10.50) came with a particularly rich brown sauce, but nothing else distinguished it from similar dishes elsewhere. We ordered it just to see.

The decorative accents in Long Grain’s small dining room meld Asia with Maine. On the wall hang barn-like planks that display vintage cooking utensils a la New England, while a chandelier holds paper rectangles of different patterns — a hint of Japan. Dishware mixes heavy earthenware with lighter plates of Asian patterns. Chopsticks trump silverware; you must ask for the latter.

Long Grain’s one dessert, though, has to be consumed with a spoon. Served in an earthenware bowl, the steamed coconut custard bore a brittle, caramelized sugar crust over a creme brulee-like square. This waded in a pool of coconut cream that swirled with soft purple rice. It was as soothing as rice pudding and as elegant as a dessert souffle ($7).

One complaint: While our waitress was amiable, the overall service lacked a good flow. For instance, the sous chef came with two arms of entrees before appetizer dishes on the table had been cleared, and the same thing happened before the next course. We had to ask for tea, an aromatic pot of jasmine we would not have wanted to miss. It was not offered nor listed on the menu.

But the dazzling food makes these service shortcomings easily overlooked. Long Grain’s short story: Come for dishes that are invigorating and satisfying, but that do not make big demands. (By that I mean, you won’t find eel or sea urchin roe here.) Another plus: Nothing on the menu costs more than $15.

On an unrelated note, Shonna Milliken Humphrey is the new co-reviewer for this column. We will be alternating weeks.

Nancy Heiser is a freelance writer who lives near Portland.