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.
At Thai Tanic II's Columbia Heights location, cooks prepare seafood and poultry curries, peanut-tinged noodles, and exotic salads made from savory chicken larb or fresh papaya. Slender vases of yellow flowers adorn the center of each glossy black-and-yellow table, while a high, lofted ceiling looks down at plates that carry a bounty of pad thai noodles or a single delicious baseball card. Guests can sip tropical cocktails at the bar or chow down on fluffy pillows of seasoned tofu and flavorful mélanges of fresh mussels and seafood.
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.
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.
Sala Thai's multitalented chefs prepare fresh sushi rolls that share billing on the menu with traditional Thai cuisine. Meals begin with zesty appetizers such as Pinky in the Blanket—deep-fried shrimp swaddled in an egg-roll wrapper ($6.95). In a split second, the entire table vanishes and reappears in a cloud of curry-scented smoke, revealing sizzling entrees such as chicken lemongrass ($8.95–$12.95) and scallop pad phed with spicy hot chili, garlic, and bamboo shoots ($10.95–$14.95). The diner with the quickest chopstick draw will enjoy the first bite of sushi offerings that include the smoked-salmon-cream-cheese roll ($6).
Those who love Asian food in all of its forms can rejoice at Mum Mum, which satisfies grumbling tummies with a variety of Thai, Japanese, and Chinese dishes. Diners start off with the restaurant's signature Mum Mum shu mai, which steams chicken, shrimp, and marinated crab meat in a wonton wrapper, before chowing down on fresh sushi rolls, Thai curries, or Japanese yakisoba noodles. Other signature dishes include tender duck slathered with mango sauce and the surf 'n' turf stir fry?filet mignon paired with jumbo shrimp and scallops.
During warm weather, guests can head up to the eatery's sky deck to devour signature maki rolls and sip cocktails from the outdoor bar. At nighttime, trees illuminated with twinkling lights and bioluminescent sea creatures cast a warm glow over the area.