Dear fellow DC Diners,
I don't usually post a message unless I've had a stellar meal. But this time I feel I MUST warn the DC area chowhounds away from this gastronomic train wreck. Ate at Duangrats for the first time this weekend, on the recommendation of another DC area chowhound. Oy, what a mistake! This was seriously one of the worst meals I've had in recent memory.
To begin with the most important thing, the food was bland. It bore little resemblance to actual Thai food, either here in the states or in Thailand. The papaya salad had no taste of either lime or fish, two of the flavors that should meld together in this complex and (usually) tasty dish. We also ordered a calamari salad that was kind of lifeless and one-note. Neither dish had ANY heat at all. Come to think if it, we weren't even asked how hot we would like our food. Thai food is notable for its fresh ingredients and the complex melding of hot, sour and sweet notes. Not at Duangrats. The main dish was a fish stuffed with herbs and steamed in a banana leaf. It was.....okay, but totally unmemorable. That's the best I can say for it. The Thai iced tea was overly sweet and tasted like it was from a powder.
Now on to the next important item, service. In a word, terrible. We had to wait 10-15 minutes for a table, even though when we entered the dining room there was at least one table for two available. Once we sat down, we had to wait a pretty long time to even see a waiter. When he came, there was no water, but he did bring out out iced tea fairly quickly (the drinks you pay for appear, I guess). We waited and waited for water but didn't even spot a water guy making the rounds. All the water glasses of the folks near us were empty, so although we didn't feel singled out, neither were we optimistic of seeing any in the near future. We had to wait, I would say, at least 10 minutes for water. Then when it ran out---you guessed it, no refills. We waited a good while between courses and the waitstaff seemed generally disinterested.
Now to the environment. The dining room had the ambiance of a suburban strip mall pizza joint. Tables were pretty close together and the lighting was kind of depressing.
And to top all of this insult off, the bill was quite a bit more than we usually pay for FAR, FAR superior Vietnamese and Thai food. You know the old joke about the food being terrible and the portions being too small? Well, if we HAD liked anything we ate, we would've felt very sad because the portions were tiny.
It was such a bust, we felt we had to go to the Eden center to cleanse our palates with a tasty bubble drink and a Vietnamese snack.
I'm sorry to sound so sour, but the whole experience was just so BAD, I don't want any real food lovers to waste one cent or one taste bud on this place! Either we can't trust the source who sent us there, or it must've gone way, way downhill since he last ate there.