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Restaurants & Bars 3

Urban Thai in Crystal City

big o | Jun 22, 2005 11:41 AM

Interest always seems low, but I really like this place and still feel compelled to write when something noteworthy comes up.

I visited for lunch on Tuesday and decided to kick off with the fried squid, their version of which is one of my favorites: it’s coated in a very light breading (tempura-ish) and fried to a solid crispness that isn’t greasy in the least. The squid had previously been prepared as short, thick rings, which was quite nice, as the meat was very tender and matched the crispiness perfectly. However, this time the chef apparently decided to go with a diagonal cut, producing longer, thinner pieces that – while still tender and flavorful – really accentuated even more fully the finer aspects of a fry job done right (I’m a sucker for good crunch, what can I say). The squid is served with the sweet sauce that otherwise accompanies their spring rolls, to which I enjoy adding a dollop of chili sauce. Also along for the ride is a big piece of green onion that gets a matching hot-oil treatment.

Rather than ordering an entrée straight away, I asked the hostess about a crispy pork and broccoli dish that I had heard mentioned several times in recent days. I knew it wasn’t on the menu, but both pork and broccoli are there and – to be honest – I assume by this point that they’ll put something together for me provided they have the means. She checked with the chef and, as I assume some of you are aware, pork belly and some measure of preparation are necessary for the dish; it simply wasn’t something they could throw together offhand. So, I ordered my first-ever dish of pad see ew, with the spice jacked up more than a few notches (and accentuated by the chilies-in-fish-sauce condiment). It was really tasty stuff; I’m surprised I’ve slipped this deep into my Thai experience without having tried it before. I obviously can’t compare to other incarnations of the dish, but I enjoyed it more than enough to ensure future orders.

While I was eating, the hostess stopped by and asked if I would be around on Friday. Pointing out that I certainly could be, I was told that the chef would purchase the necessary ingredients for the crispy pork with broccoli dish and prepare it for me. So, I’m looking forward to that.

I finished off with the mango and sticky rice, which still stands as the single best version of this seemingly-simple dessert that I’ve ever had.

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