Those with a hankering for Thai food will find their appetites satisfied at Cleveland Park’s Siam House, one of this Washington DC neighborhood’s favorite spots for cheap eats. Though small in stature, with relatively sparse walls and a sometimes bustling interior, this tiny hole-in-the-wall is as popular as ever, serving up Thai-flavored meals with lots of flavor. Among the favorites are the Tom Yum soup, the drunken noodles and the mango curry, but the menu abounds with all manner of entrées suitable for carnivores and vegetarians alike. Inside seating is tight, but during warm weather, a small outdoor area makes for a delightful place to dine and people-watch.
Spices has clean, modern lines and an open sushi bar where diners can enjoy a visual feast while feasting. Chef Jessie Yan's menu features contemporary and home-style Asian recipes. Start with Sichuan Dragon Dumplings (chicken, watercress, and shiitake mushrooms, $6) before launching an all-out consumption attack on an unsuspecting specialty maki Dancing Eel roll (barbecue eel, crabstick, masago, avocado, and cucumber, $11) or the green curry (chicken, beef, or pork swimming in rich, creamy coconut curry with eggplant and basil, served in a brass wok; lunch $11, dinner $13). For large appetites, the big duck roasted and served with pancakes, cucumbers, scallions, and plum sauce (half duck $15, whole $30) is capable of occupying most unused stomach storage, while a zesty grilled dish such as the Vietnamese grilled shrimp, served with a Vietnamese spring roll, lettuce, cucumber, mint, and roasted peanuts over vermicelli (lunch $12, dinner $14) gently tucks hunger under a culinary blanket.
At the age of 12, Thasana Midee would sit alongside her mother in the kitchen of their Bangkok home, roasting and grinding spices together. Thasana now roasts her own colorful spices in the kitchen at Heritage Asia and then sprinkles them over thai curry, noodle, and stir-fried dishes. House specialties include korean sesame beef as well as grilled lemongrass saigon pork over vermicelli, introduced by starters of spring rolls and chicken wings stuffed with crab meat, shitake mushrooms, and spring onions.
Vibrant touches also punctuate the dining room's decor, with golden walls hosting kaleidoscopic paintings and colorful throw pillows supporting patrons at booth seating.
Growing up in Thailand, Aschara loved helping out in the family kitchen. Her mother taught her how to cook at a young age, and she relished waking up early on the weekends to purchase food from the markets on her own. On those market days, she also gained a deep appreciation for the tasty food sold by street vendors, an appreciation that underlies her menus at Beau Thai. Those menus are packed with fresh, authentic Thai dishes, including a Sunday brunch inspired by the same street foods she loved as a young girl. Meanwhile, her friends and partners Ralph and Drew—natives of North Carolina—bring their own unique perspective to the restaurant, most notably in the craft cocktails poured at the full bar. Spicy, battered Beau Thai chicken pairs perfectly with a Thai basil gimlet, while a sparkling lemongrass cocktail made with homemade limoncello makes a bowl of homey noodle soup or green curry pork feel extra special.
Filling a need in the District for appealing pan-Asian eats, the Satay Club has obviously struck a pleasing note with a broad spectrum of locals. Slipping in at lunchtime, patrons will find tables filled with students from nearby American University, business folks out for an inexpensive bite and neighborhood pals chatting over a plate of sushi or pad Thai. For the serious eater, the menu offers such offbeat dishes as Malaysian rendang, a spicy beef stew, and gado gado, a fan-favorite Indonesian salad with lots of steamed vegetables. More familiar dishes include bowls of ramen, Chinese lo mein noodles, and roasted Peking duck. For anyone who doesn’t have time to relax inside the long red-walled and wood-heavy eatery, online ordering and quick pick-up options are available.
Elaborate wood carvings steal the show at The Regent, drawing the eye toward dynamic statues and houses with ornate roofs. Just as elaborate are the kitchen's creations: dishes such as sizzling beef and grilled curry lamb are made without any MSG, allowing the flavors of exotic herbs and spices to shine.