Cheap Eats 2015: Sugar Palm Thai

Curries—such as this rich green version with chicken and eggplant—are the thing at Sugar Palm Thai.
Cheap Eats 2015: Sugar Palm Thai
Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Candy-colored walls, high ceilings, and trendy light fixtures set the scene at this modern Thai dining room. Much of the food is similarly of the moment, though classics get attention, too. Roast duck layered with cucumber and green onion and tucked inside a pastry roll is a delicious nod to slider culture. Pork jerky is so good it doesn’t need its Sriracha dipping sauce to make it a hit. Frying is done with finesse, which means packets of rice-paper-wrapped shrimp and nuggets of tilapia tossed with lemongrass, chilies, cilantro, and lime are worthy bets. And the pad Thai is a well-balanced mix of umami-rich fish sauce, crunchy peanuts, and sublimely slippery noodles. Besides textbook sticky rice with fresh mango for dessert, another sweet is worth considering: ultra-crispy fried banana with ice cream.

Cuisine: Thai

Where you can get it: 5580 Vincent Gate Ter., Alexandria; 703-354-1077

Also good: Fried pork ribs; spicy fried rice with green chilies; grilled shrimp and fried eggplant with chu chee curry (red curry with coconut cream); duck curry with lychees; sliced steak with a dipping sauce of lime, chili, and toasted rice; shrimp in spicy tamarind broth.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.