Cheap Eats 2016: Baan Thai

cheap eats date night iconDate-Night-Worthy Good for Groups

In this age of the pop-up restaurant and the speakeasy restaurant, it’s inevitable we’d also have the restaurant within a restaurant. From the outside, and even from the inside, this is a sushi spot called Tsunami. But what’s most exciting is the menu of dishes from northern Thailand, the culinary terrain explored so successfully by chef Johnny Monis at nearby Little Serow. The kitchen at Baan Thai, as the nesting doll of a place is called, lacks the endowments of a James Beard Award–winning chef, and it also can’t match the fanatical commitment to delivering precision on the plate every single time. But the best half dozen or so dishes—including vermicelli with chili-peanut sauce and crispy rice cakes with ground chicken—seduce you with complex, exhilarating tastes that never stint on heat or sourness. Leave room for the kanom krok, magical little half-moon pancakes filled with coco-nut custard.

Also good: Pork curry; “pork picnic”; beef curry noodles; green curry with fish ball and eggplant; khao soi;tapioca balls with ground chicken.

See what other restaurants made our 2016 Cheap Eats list. This article appears in our May 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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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.