Cheap Eats 2015: Elephant Jumps

Where we go for the best North and South Thai flavors in one place.

“Serious authentic Thai cooking” may sound like hyperbole, especially when it’s printed on a sprawling menu, but husband-and-wife owners Songtham and Panida Pinyolaksana aren’t exaggerating. He hails from southern Thailand, she comes from the north, and a full spectrum of flavors is represented between the two poles: spicy, sour, bright, earthy. An incandescent papaya salad arrives with sticky rice and pork rinds to balance its heat, while braised pork curry in a tamarind-rich sauce tastes like Thai comfort fare. Thankfully, originality isn’t lost in favor of tradition—fried flatbread acts as a crunchy base for shrimp toast—and the welcoming staff isn’t so serious that they won’t tame the heat if you ask, or whip up a tasty pad Thai.

Cuisine: Thai

Where you can get it: 8110-A Arlington Blvd., Falls Church; 703-942-6600

Also good: Fried-watercress salad; wok-seared noodles with pork and Chinese broccoli; crab stir-fry in yellow curry; green curry chicken with roti.

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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.