Cheap Eats 2011: Nava Thai Noodle and Grill

There are standouts aplenty among the Thai standards–the made-to-order papaya salad and the smoky, sweet pad Thai might be the area’s best–but the great reward of dining here comes from venturing beyond familiar tastes.

The menu at Suchart and Ladavan Srigatesook’s spacious mom-and-pop contains a trove of seldom-seen treasures, many adapted from the street foods whipped up in the markets of Thailand, from Floating Market Noodle Soup–a meal in a bowl that blends sweet, sour, bitter, and salty–to crispy mussels in an egg-and-rice-flour batter to juicy grilled chicken with sticky rice and a sweet and musky tamarind dipping sauce.

At their best, the flavors are bright, light, fresh, and focused.

Also good: Hot-and-sour squid; drunken noodles; pork kaprow.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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.