Sense of Thai St.
Ashburn / Thai / $$
The Chumphon province of Thailand, located in the country’s long, skinny Southern tail, is not a culinary destination on the level of Bangkok or Chiang Mai, but if Sense of Thai St. is any indication, maybe it should be. Chumphon-style pad thai, for example, combines the tamarind-treated noodles and shrimp with peanuts that we all know and love with coconut-curry paste, sweet radish, and meaty chunks of jumbo lump crab.
But the hits at Sense of Thai St. aren’t limited to bold Chumphon flavors. The best dishes at the stylish (and usually packed) restaurant range from Southern Thailand to Northern specialties like khao soi. The chicken curry with egg noodles and pickled mustard greens is unusually packed with poultry here, but it also brings a serious slap of heat.
Fusion also finds a place on the menu. Quesadillas made from Thai roti are available filled with either crispy duck and hoisin, for a take on Peking duck, or chicken and green curry that stretches with mozzarella and proffers a pleasant burn. Pair it with a cocktail from ballyhooed bar manager Jeremy Ross. He uses exotic flavors like lychee and ginger to produce elevated tipples ideal for cooling down your palate.
See this: Curry pastes encircle the open kitchen, but Thai movie posters are just as likely to catch your eye.
Eat this: Green curry quesadilla, khao soi, Thai tea crème brûlée
Service: The servers’ Hawaiian shirts signify a low-key vibe, but expect efficiency, too.
When to dine here: You and your date are in search of a little spice.