Restaurants & Bars

Siagonese and Tara Asia

Lauryn | Jan 25, 2003 04:30 PM

Yesterday I had a double treat - lunch at Wheaton's Saigonese and light dinner at Tara Asia in Rockville (part of the Tara Thai family)

I feel bad for the Wheaton restaurants during weekday lunches - it's not a business hub as, say downtown DC or even Bethesda, so their restaurants are mostly empty except on weekends & some weeknights. So I try to patronize them if I'm going in for 1/2 a day of work downtown & can park at Wheaton Metro.

At Saigonese, I had fresh lemonade (always love that stuff at pho places), a soup they call "Viet chicken noodle" (but I'd call it a chicken pho, minus the bean sprouts), a Viet curry of chicken and veg over rice noodle and a dessert of pureed mungbeans mixed with some tapioca and coconut milk. They have about 20 entrees for only $5 during weekday lunch & the curry was part of it. It was OK - curry sauce was mostly peanut, but you got a huge portion (I took the remainder to go). I liked the chicken pho a lot (was just a small bowl), the mungbean dessert was not what I expected (I anticipated those coconut milk, ice & tapioca dessert drinks you get from pho places) but it was a warm, pudding-ish change of pace. Price ($14) was very good & service good as well. Many Wheaton restaurants, incl. nearby Sabang, Nam's & Antonio's Trattoria, have bargain lunch specials.

Fri. night was a rare date night with the hubby, seeing the thoroughly enjoyable "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," but we were not hungry enough, nor did we have the time for, pre-show entrees. Tara Asia served us appetizers, soups & a shared dessert. It's an attractive restaurant (incl. the dishware) & very good service. I had a pork & dumpling broth, and lightly fried squid with dipping sauce, hubby had a curry puff (looked like a pasty or empanada) & that popular Thai soup with lemongrass, chicken & coconut milk. We shared mango with sticky rice & were very satisfied with our meal, except for the noisy party of 5 next to us, led by a very loud talker, downing bottle after bottle of wine & other bar drinks. I wished they'd gone to a sports bar instead, I couldn't believe how loudly the guy was laughing and gabbing (they were not 20s, BTW, but 50s). Still, I recommend Tara Asia - we like the Tara Thai group, but it's so popular that it's difficult to get a table. T Asia is never as crowded.

BTW, if you get movie tix from Rockville Regal (or any cinema), make sure you check that it's your movie printed on them. They botched it up in the box office, put down the wrong movie at a different time, we didn;t look at the tix, & when we gave them to the ticket guy downstairs, he refused to let us into "Confessions." He told us we had to go back upstairs & wait in the long line again to exchange them! But we kept begging & he finally let us in.
So always check your tix before you leave a box office window - we will from now on...

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