We have no lack of Thai restaurants in Herndon. What have lacked is Thai restaurants at a consistently high standard. Our only real contender in that regard has been Thai Luong.
We now have a second contender.
Last night we dined at Tarin, which opened in May. Tarin seems to have had its interior designed by the same teams that have done a lot of other Thai restaurants. The look is very modern with tables individually painted in swirling colors. They use colorful, modern dishes to serve the food, adding to the riot of color.
We started with a chicken sate and the nuer num tok, the latter of which is a grilled beef salad. The chicken sate was very tasty even without the peanut sauce. But it was the grilled beef salad that told us we'd found a winner. The hot pepper spicing was balanced perfectly with the lime and onions, neither of them drowning the beef. And it was spicy, not toned down.
The grownups in the group concentrated on the Siam Roasted Duck, slices of duck with a crunchy-crisp skin mixed with pepper chunks and fried basil leaves. This wasn't quite up to the Ruan Thai or Thai Square frying standard, but it was darned good. Again, the spicing balance was about perfect.
The chowpup latched on to the pineapple fried rice. I know, it sounds as if it is strictly for the tourists, but we'd all learned to love this kid-friendly dish at Neisha. Tarin's version is, like Neisha's, served in a pineapple half, with some very good shrimp, cashews, chicken pieces, pineapple and raisins, topped with that wonderful dried pork that has a steel-wool texture. It all worked, except for the raisins.
The menu had 7 different vegetarian options.
The downside: The menu doesn't seem to have any items not in wide circulation at area Thai restaurants.
Service was attentive and the kitchen was pretty fast. The dining room was fairly empty so the kitchen's speed might degrade if they're ever full. They'll deliver and they do catering.
Tarin is at 1106 Herndon Parkway, at intersection of Herndon Parkway and Eldon St.