Cool sips of creamy green-tea frappes and thai iced coffee balance the fiery curries and delicately seasoned stir-fries at Elephant Thai Short Pump, whose chefs import their spices from Thailand each week. This touch of authenticity is palpable in the seasoned chicken, pork, and shrimp inside the kanom jeeb thai dumplings as well as in the spicy chili and garlic sauce that drowns helpings of vegetarian drunken noodles.
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A chalkboard sign sits on the red-brick sidewalk outside Beauregard's Thai Room, listing handwritten specials such as Thai-style red curry and grilled-chicken avocado salad. Walk past the restaurant's black wrought-iron fence and you'll find a courtyard lush with greenery that leads up into a historic building adorned with a bright-yellow canopy. When weather permits, guests can enjoy lunch or dinner in the outdoor courtyard; otherwise, it's just as nice to take a seat in the dining room, which is illuminated by chandeliers and, if the windows are open and it's a clear day, the occasional solar flare.
It?s quite forgivable if guests forget where they are inside Tara Thai. The atmosphere is more reminiscent of a boat in the water than a restaurant on land?as evidenced by the painted dolphins and fish that swim past port windows on the wall. Illuminated glass dividers etched with marine life separate the booths, and decorative seaweed sculptures rise high above diners? heads. As for the menu, it's populated by classic Thai dishes such as pad thai, fried rice, and panang curry studded with pieces of chicken, seafood, or tofu.
Japanese, Chinese, and Thai cuisines fuse together in Miso Asian Grill & Sushi Bar’s dishes. Its chefs hand roll sushi and prep entrees that are free of additives and preservatives and loaded with hand-cut seasonal vegetables. They slather eggplant with chili-garlic sauce and smother whole fried red snapper in red curry sauce before setting them to simmer atop the kitchen’s wok or grill. Elsewhere, chefs manning the sushi bar craft abundant hand and classic rolls alongside 20 specialty rolls, such as the spicy Crab Killer, which is served with a detailed description of the wanted crustacean’s likeness. Each of the chef’s creations can be served to waiting patrons in Miso’s contemporary, art-adorned dining room or on its outdoor patio, which is nestled beside a tranquil pond.
Prasit "Ken" Khachenrum's culinary journey spans more than 11,000 miles. In his native Thailand, the young chef began mastering the dishes of his home soil at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Bangkok. Later, after landing a position with Commodore Cruise Lines, the globetrotting Khachenrum continued plying his skills while sailing beneath the Caribbean sun. Upon deciding to settle in Washington, DC, Chef Ken worked through the city's restaurant scene on his way to becoming sushi chef at Yosaku Japanese Restaurant, opening his first restaurant in Yorktown in 2002, and finally, opening Thaijindesu. Thaijindesu—translated from the Japanese word "romanji," meaning "Thai people"—invites guests into an elegant spiral of Thai and Japanese flavors. Chef Ken places bowls of steaming noodles and curries beside fresh rolls of sushi, uniting regional nuances on a single menu rather than uniting two menus with Velcro.