An elegant, colorful Thai dining room.

From June 2005 Cheap Eats

This is the area's only Best Bargain restaurant that is also one of the 24 holders of a Blue Ribbon Award for being among the Washingtonian's Very Best Restaurants. Duangrat's has added luster to the dining room with red walls and gold-leaf trim, Thai artwork, crystal chandeliers, and white tablecloths. And it's all enjoyable on a budget. Though a few main courses top $20, most are under $12. Service and presentation are first-class.

Duangrat's has a new menu of what's described as Asian tapas. Averaging about $5, they are excellent values. Try yellow-curry chicken noodle soup, curried salmon puff pastry, steamed cod filet in ginger sauce with mushrooms, salt-and-pepper fried calamari, corn-and-crabmeat soufflé, and shrimp sautéed with black-bean sauce. On the regular menu you won't go wrong with Panang chicken in a coconut peanut curry sauce with basil; a trio of quail fried with garlic, white pepper, soy sauce, and steamed broccoli; pork with fried garlic; or catfish with red-chili paste.

Duangrat's takes dessert seriously. Try the black sticky-rice pudding with taro and chocolate sorbet or the cinnamon ice cream with caramelized banana and spiced rum sauce.

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