June 2006 Cheap Eats

Salads are little more than afterthoughts at many restaurants, a wan reach-out on the part of the kitchen to dieters, picky eaters, the carniphobic, and the allergic. But not at this Burmese gem.

Burmese cooking blends the styles of its neighbors Thailand and India into something bracing and original, and nowhere is that more evident than in the salads here. "Salad" is perhaps a misleading term for such intricate concoctions as these, full of sharp, contrasting flavors and varied textures. Green Tea Leaf Salad, made from fermented tea leaf, garlic, tomatoes, onion, and broad beans, is a smoky, resiny, utterly mysterious dish. Nearly as good are the ginger salad and mango salad, both lively and bright.

The menu is brief, and it's not particularly deep beyond the salads and starters and soups. Among the latter, the keeper is the Ohnno Kaukswe, a delicate, comforting brew made from chicken broth, coconut milk, shredded chicken, and egg noodles. Still, the adventurous are sure to find something to stir their imaginations–a shrimp in chili sauce with Chinese cilantro and tomato or a stir-fried pork with fresh mango, either of which will provide a jolt for any palate jaded by generic Asian cooking.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.