Dirt Cheap Eats 2008: Thai X-ing

Thai X-ing (515 Florida Ave., NW; 202-332-4322). Used books, mismatched plates, and children’s drawings make this basement-level eatery feel like a friend’s living room. The deeply flavored curries ($8.75 to $12.05), though, are anything but familiar. Chef/owner Taw Vigsittaboot’s Thai cooking is as authentic—and fiery—as you’ll find in the area.

If you can handle the heat, start with larb gai ($6.55), a minced-chicken salad with a spicy marinade that’s just barely tempered by dashes of cilantro and lime. Move on to the chicken, beef, or pork Penang curry ($8.75 each), the sauce a complex layering of flowery kaffir-lime leaves and chili paste thickened with coconut milk.

Vegetarians should consider the Pad King Tofu ($7.65), crispy cubes brightened by fresh ginger and soybean paste. Whether you plan on dining in or getting food to go, you’ll want to call ahead to place your order—Vigsittaboot’s one-man operation is known for lengthy waits. Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner.

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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 Logan Circle.