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.
Each of Wing Zone’s 15 sauces comes accompanied with a number. The digit doesn't signify the amount of ingredients, nor is it a tool for easier ordering. Rather, the sauce’s number, much like the scores given to candidates during presidential debates, denotes a spectrum of spiciness, with 1 being mild and 4 being too hot for its own good. Original wings, boneless nuggets, and crispy fried shrimp come dressed in up to four of the zesty flavors, such as garlic parm, Ragin’ Cajun, and, the hottest of the hot, Nuclear habanero. Aside from dressing up chicken and fish, the Wing Zone kitchen also churns out plainly dressed chicken tenders, stacks of burgers with bacon and cheese, and extinguishes burning taste buds with banana cheesecake or chocolate brownie bites.
If the murals in Tuscany Ristorante Italiano's romantic dining room didn't tip you off to the eatery's Italian influence, the scents coming from the kitchen would. In there, chefs sauté Gulf shrimp, cuts of veal, and fillets of fish before tossing them with the house's pasta and sauces. They also craft traditional thin-crust pizzas using their own freshly made dough, basil, and natural cheese to capture traditional Italian flavors. The shop opens its doors from breakfast onward and begins building light breakfast dishes as well as bistro sandwiches and salads that burst with spinach, grilled chicken, and goat cheese, just like a farmer's piñata.
Major league sports play out on 19 televisions as RJ’s slings a menu of hearty pub fare. The sound of billiard balls clacking on seven green-felt pool tables harmonizes with the crunch of the Mile High nachos buried beneath a mountain of cheese, pico de gallo, and a choice of beer-braised pot roast or salsa chicken ($9.99). Crab-cake sliders come with a smattering of fresh tartar sauce ($8.99), and a selection of full-size burgers ($7.99) sates more robust appetites with options such as a loaded cheeseburger stuffed with american cheese or the Diablo burger, which enflames taste buds with jalapeños, cayenne pepper, spicy ranch, and zero remorse. Imbued with a flavorful medley of beer, vegetables, and beef stock, RJ’s beer-braised pot roast pairs up with garlic bread as an entree ($8.99) or mingles with fresh tomatoes, spanish spices, and chili sauce in the full-bodied pot-roast chili ($5.99).
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
Operated by a close-knit band of familial mozzarella landscapers, Gus’s New York Pizza bakes its pizza dough fresh each day and festoons it with more than 20 toppings. Avant-garde eaters can paint an abstract circular self-portrait with bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, or green peppers ($4.59–$12.99/pizza, $1.39¬–$1.89/topping)—or defer to an expertly built specialty pizza, such as the feta-laced greek pie topped with green peppers, black olives, fresh tomatoes, and onions ($16.99/medium, $18.99/large). Sports fans, meanwhile, can nosh on cheese fries with bacon ($3.99) and an oven-baked 8-inch philly steak sub ($6.99) without having to look down and miss a single moment of the nation's perplexingly popular new sport, ball. Otherwise, add a gourmet touch to a mundane hostage negotiation with a plate of lobster ravioli ($8.79). Prices vary at the Kiln Creek, Grafton, and Stoney Creek Lane dinner menus.