Wow, this place is really good. It has been on the list for awhile and since an out of towner recently emailed me asking for suggestions on places to eat downtown and I recommended it to him (I did tell him I hadn’t been) I figured I needed to get in there so I could know about what I speak!
We got there probably around 11:45 for lunch and the place was nearly full. This place is hopping with people at lunchtime. After we sat down, there was pretty much a wait for a table (and a lot of people waiting at that) for the entire duration of our lunch. The interior is modern and spare with nice glass block windows along side. The servers are courteous and fairly prompt, considering the crowd. The one annoyance is there is no parking lot at lunchtime, just street parking, and depending on the crowd, it can be difficult. I had to circle a bit to find one nearby.
For lunch they have several specials which I assume are smaller portions of several of their regular entrees that also come with a cup of soup and a spring roll. We decided to share one rice entrée and one noodle entrée and get the lay of the land. They brought the soup and spring roll out fairly quickly. The spring roll was excellent and crunchy, and hubby declared one of the best he has had. They were veggie and did have the stingy carrot/cabbage problem that spring rolls often do (you take a bite and all those strings of veggies are hanging out of your mouth) but they were really tasty. The soup was the Thom Yum, I believe, a brothy, spicy, yet slightly sour soup flavored with lemongrass, tomatoes, scallions and cilantro and with a couple of mushrooms floating around in there. It was great to dip the spring rolls into. And it had a bit of heat to it. (The little squares in the soup are a reflection of the glass blocks—I thought it looked sort of cool.)
We shared the chicken Kapow and the Pad Seuw. The chicken Kapow is a rice plate including steamed rice and a stir fry mix with chicken, peppers, basil, onions, mushrooms, and scallions. I really liked the flavor on this dish—had the heat of Thai food with the slight underlying tanginess of what I assume to be lemongrass. We were asked what temperature we wanted the dishes and we told him medium for both. They certainly had a lot of spiciness and I would not be up for hot for sure. This was the perfect amount—it built over time and left your lips tingling just a bit, but didn’t ruin the other flavors of the dish. The sauce on the dish was great. If I could change anything, it would be that the pieces of onion and scallion were a little big and because of that were a little too crunchy. The smaller pieces of onion were really good with the mix though. And the chicken was white meat, pleasantly tender and fairly plentiful.
The pad seuw was outstanding. I really liked both dishes a lot, but this one, the noodle dish, probably inched the other one out slightly for the simple reason that I would eat every bite of everything in the mix. There was the right amount of everything, and in the appropriate sizes (for example, I left quite a pile of the onions from the dish above just because they were so big and so plentiful). This was a wide noodle dish stir fried with various greens (baby bok choy and broccoli are the two that jump to mind), garlic, egg and chicken. It was really really good. There were some larger pieces of chicken as well as some finer dices and the flavors combined to make a lovely brown sauce over the dish. I think we would be hard pressed not to get this one again.
Hubby was happy with his Thai beer to go along with his lunch, and by the end of the meal determined it was worthy of a dinner visit. I am excited to go back and try a few of the menu items that aren’t offered as a lunch special.
It looks to me like Fountain Square is really coming into its own with some really great restaurants. So tell me, I have done Naisa and Siam Square, and have been impressed with both. What are your other faves in this neighborhood?
936 Virginia Ave