Basin St.in Sterling is gone for good. It was adjacent to the Regal Theaters in the Countryside Mall and offered a good opportunity to have a meal before a movie or extend-a-date after a movie. The live music and the crayfish will be missed.
We now have 4912 Thai Cuisine in that space. Admittedly, I did dine there three days before the Grand Opening on 6/15/04 so this review might not be quite fair.
When I asked if the bar was opened and if smoking was permitted, the receptionist told me I could sit anywhere. The waiter told me how great the tradition of 4912 was as it was a Washington restaurant. When I tried to order a beer, he informed be that they hadn't gotten their liquor license yet and had not determined if there was a smoking area. So much for evil habits.
Fortified by a generous Thai iced tea, I ordered the Larb which made me down the whole tea and my companions glasses of water. It was a one pepper item on the menu and I waited about 10 minutes for the waiter to return. We had also selected Pad Thai and Wild Pork.
The Pad Thai was excellent but the Wild Pork (a two pepper dish) was disapointing. Rather chewy bits of pork with lots of peppercorn branches and chiles and not much curry sauce. The flavor was bland unless you bit into a branch or a chile and then it was overwhelming fire. When we asked for extra rice, it came along with our check.
The bottom line on my experience is the service needs to improve and the food is uneven. The staff seems to rely on the good record of Washington 4912, but frankly I've never heard of it. I'm not sure that this is the right space for a Thai restaurant, considering all the Asian restauratnts that have closed down in the same mall. 4912 has the premier space but doesn't beacon the same excited craziness that Basin Street offered.
One upbeat note, upon paying the waiter gave me a sealed envelope for a "free discount invitation." The discount is for 50% off your next meal up to 4 persons valid until 8/31. I have no idea if they are still offering this invitation.