515 Florida Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001
Neighborhood: U Street/Shaw
Nearby Metro Stops: Shaw-Howard University
Price Range: Inexpensive
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Not Needed
Salmon in red curry; spring rolls; larb gai (ground chicken and onions in lime juice); pork ribs in green curry; pad Thai; Pad King Tofu.
Why go: The best Thai cooking in DC is coming from an English-basement space near Howard University Hospital overseen by a ponytailed cook named Taw Vigsittaboot. He works slowly to give flavors time to marry, and the waits for orders can be long. Open one of the books on Eastern philosophy in the room if you need a lesson in patience.
What to get: Salmon in red curry; spring rolls that travel without going soggy; larb gai, a salad of ground chicken and onions in lime juice; juicy pork ribs in green curry; pad Thai with pickled garlic, ginger, and chili paste.
Best for: Anyone who regards going out to eat as an adventure.
Insider tip: It used to be strictly takeout, but a couple of tables have now been wedged into the waiting area.
Open daily for dinner.
>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats restaurants here