Al Dente

Thai X-ing, Owner Taw Vigsittaboot's Thai on 5th Street and Florida Avenue in LeDroit Park, and 9th and V Street in Shaw

60 posts in this topic

My fellow Rockwellians,

I've decided I can't share this information-- I want this place all to myself.

Sorry,

Al

P.S. On second thought, I may feel more charitable on Friday.

Edited by Al Dente

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I'm going to start a petition to have you excommunicated for this, you son of a motherless goat.

That's the spirit! biggrin.gif

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P.S. On second thought, I may feel more charitable on Friday.

The Ellipsis Before Friday's Climax (Thanks, Al Dente, for being nice enough to hold back to help out this aspiring writer's career. Please tell me he said thank you?)

I'm not sure if it's an inherent flaw with the written word, or a simple lack of imagination on the part of writers in general, but this situation recalls the classic authorial problem of adequately conveying dialogue just before the point of orgasm, seemingly always written in the unimaginative form, "I ... I ... I'm ... I'm ... I'm going to ...."

I don't know why I think of these things I just do

Rocks

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This restaurant seems as though it deserves to remain an obscure outpost. I'm not one to complain about when a local neighboorhood spot gets outed and immediately becomes crowded, that's just stupid, but I think maybe X-ing should've been left as an urban legend of sorts, the legend growing daily by word of mouth. Maybe I just feel like DC doesn't have many or any of those places, off the beaten path, incredibly unpretentious, great food but humble all the same. As a chef I wil always want more business, and more press for the restaurant, but were I to inhabit this niche, working solo, I would enjoy that obscurity(as long as the bills get paid, natch). What an incredible freedom it must be to work like that. This board often talks of the "dining" experience from a diner's perspective, usually invoilving good company, and I agree. However the chance to interact with one person, or two people alone with the food, that is an almost unattainable experience for a chef. Of course I'll be heading there in a few months after the rush, by myself.

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I would enjoy that obscurity

Try the obscure duck! Kliman does indeed speak of the restaurant to which I allude. I'd go more into it, but I'm shnockered after a rehearsal dinner and beat.

He's right-- stay away from the stir fries and delve deeply into the curries. Also, step up to the four-burner stove and chat with the man as he makes your meal. This jaunt into the hood is well worth it. Some dishes blow what I've ever had before in the DC area out of the water. Too many Thai places just throw some chicken, ginger, galanga, and lime leaves into a wok and say, badabing, this is Thai. F them.

Thai X-ing is Thai!

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Got some tasty Thai last night. Actually, it was delivered-- by none other than Taw himself. Quite the multi-tasker.

NAM TOK

Grilled slices of beef mixed with Thai spices, spring onion, cilantro and lemon juice

post-27-1134919886_thumb.jpg

PAD THAI PAK

Rice noodles sautéed with fresh bean sprouts, egg, spring onion, red tofu and ground peanuts

post-27-1134919949_thumb.jpg

PORK RIBS IN GREEN CURRY

Tender pork ribs in green curry served with fresh string beans

post-27-1134919998_thumb.jpg

THAI X-ING CURRY

Thai-style curry with Roast duck in red curry

post-27-1134920046_thumb.jpg

Damn tasty stuff. Especially the curries. I live about 2.5 miles from the restaurant, so I was surprised that they would deliver here.

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Well, Al Dente, if you're wondering how far your endorsements go, I gave Thai X-ing a try last night based on your post. A few websites I found discussing the place mentioned how this entire thing is a one man show. Although he at least has someone else there answering the phone. I called about 7:40 last night and was immediately informed that Taw was out on delivery, so I'd have to wait 30 minutes before he started on my food. Actually the guy on the phone said "he was out on delivery," assuming I knew what the deal was. Also peculiar was that this guy seemed to have little familiarity with the menu, since he instructed that I order by number as opposed to dish. (Thank goodness you posted the menu above...)

Anyway about 45 minutes later Taw himself called to verify the directions to my place and said he was on his way. So it was about 55 minutes from order to delivery. I tipped him well, since he was a friendly guy and I'm at 18th and U-ish, around 13 blocks from his place.

I really enjoyed my three choices, the chicken pad thai, chicken panang curry, and sweet and sour pork (preaw whan?). Two things I noticed -- the dishes were probably less sweet than I'm used to, and they were made richer by adding ingredients you don't usually see (ie, broccoli in the pad thai, cauliflower in the panang). I wonder if this is indicative of more traditional thai cooking. I did enjoy them immensely, though. I can't give it the #1 one ranking in DC just yet, but I would put it among the top three.

I'm still curious to see how he can keep this operation running smoothly. I got lucky by calling on a Sunday night with only one customer ahead of me. How does it work on a busier night like Saturday? What if he's got people waiting in the shop when a call comes in?

Next time I need to go for the duck Al pictured above. Question: are those green things in there beans or chilis?

Edited by The Doctor

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Next time I need to go for the duck Al pictured above. Question: are those green things in there beans or chilis?

Green beans. I'm glad you liked it. I hope Taw gets busy enough to hire a delivery guy.

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Have you been to Thai X-ing? Have you met Taw?

Why not?

I don't want to say much more, because if I do, I might find you all there on a Tuesday night, standing in line, keeping me from my salmon with red curry.

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Thai X-ing is still going strong and for the first time I saw Taw wearing pants. Usually he is wearing a sarong-like outfit but I guess the cold got to him. I get takeout from here about once a month and every time I go here I am still amazed at what this guy is doing in a basement apartment in Shaw. This is a place that has to be experienced because there is no accurate way to really describe it. It is really a one man show with a rotating cast of occasional helpers. The other night I realized that the one table inside the restaurant would make the perfect intimate chef's table. It is literally four feet from the chef and you couldn't fit more than six people in the restaurant without causing a fire hazard.

I had my usual order of red curry salmon and udon pork and tried the pad thai for the first time. All were really good, but the salmon really stands out. It is a simple preparation, a large piece of skin on salmon cooked in a red curry sauce with bamboo shoots and eggplant topped with Thai basil, where the completed dish is so much greater than its individual parts. I'm not a big salmon fan as I find it pretty boring most of the time but his is ethereal and I would put it near the top of my favorite fish preparations. The udon pork was very flavorful as well and Taw is not shy in his use of the Thai peppercorns. I found the pad thai to be a little too sweet for my taste and prefer his drunken noodles.

While talking to one of the girls helping out the other night I found out that the new space on 9th street is moving ahead-not sure on an opening date. It will seat at least 30 people and will have an outdoor patio. The plan is to continue to keep open the original location as well but I can't see how that would be viable and if Taw left the character would be completely different.

If you are looking for a unique and funky dining experience you should consider trying this place before it disappears.

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While talking to one of the girls helping out the other night I found out that the new space on 9th street is moving ahead-not sure on an opening date. It will seat at least 30 people and will have an outdoor patio. The plan is to continue to keep open the original location as well but I can't see how that would be viable and if Taw left the character would be completely different.

Where did you find out about a new location? This is the first I've heard of it. I have been meaning to order from here for the longest time, but he only delivers on Friday and it hasn't worked with my schedule. I agree with you -- the place won't be the same once it expands.

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Surreal experience last night at Thai X-ing. In short, the guy that Taw has answering his phone and working his cash register (Paulo or Apollo?) fits the place perfectly. Out of sorts, wandering around the restaurant, boasting to the other two patrons in the restaurant about the sexual escapades of his youth, and barely knowing how to work the register. I felt like I had mistakenly walked into someone's apartment, with (working) computers and TVs sitting on random ledges, a fish tank that looked like it hadn't been cleaned in some time, an empty bird cage, wood idols hung on the walls, and countless other pictures and nicknacks strewn about. This place is a total anomaly in DC, it is like one of those bodegas or small restaurants that you go to in NYC that are so odd that you can't help but love them.

Salmon with red curry is as good as advertised, and might very well be the best Thai dish I have ever had. The Ka Prow was also quite good, as my spice loving fiancee only shared one bite before keeping the rest to herself. Pad See-Ew was pretty good, although it was really overshadowed by the other two other great entrees.

I generally have found the Thai that I have had to be too sweet and a bit dumbed-down, but this place got it right. Everything was spicy enough that it will make the beads show up on your brow, but it is not so hot that you cannot taste the basil, curry, and other great spices underneath.

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I love Thai X-ing but I'm concerned that my wait will be 90 times longer than normal even if it's 2 blocks from my house.

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I ate here for the first time last night and it was better than any thai food I've had in DC.

The tastes were bright and simple -- every component, every flavor was identifiable. The soups, in particular, were excellent. I was surprised to enjoy the salmon in red curry, because it's just not a dish I've seen done well at other places. I did find the duck a little fatty, and it probably could have used a little more time/heat to render that out. Still, I can't wait to eat through the menu.

For the uninitiated (me), Taw appears to be the soup nazi of thai chefs. Two women had walked in just before me, without calling ahead, intending to dine in the minuscule sitting area cum dining room. They were told it'd be 30-40 minutes before they were served, even though they were the only people in the place. Then, when they tried to order a dish "mild", were informed that all dishes came with whatever amount of heat the chef deemed appropriate. My advice is to order well in advance, let Taw do what he does, and expect about 1:20 between the time you order and the time you walk away with your food.

In related news, the new location is set to open "around Christmas" according to the woman who bagged up my order. The original location will remain open as a takeout (as mentioned upthread). Sadly, I was not given any details on the status of the Taw cloning effort.

Alex

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It would be nice if I knew it was going to be 1:20 between the time I call and the time my order is ready. It's very inconsistent and not worth ordering on Friday and Saturday night IMO. The last time I ordered food on a Friday I was told it would be between an hour and an hour and a half for it to be prepared. It wound up taking 2:45!

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I had an overwhelmingly positive experience here tonight. I was able to try five things, the highlight of which was the green curry sauce which was simply incredible. The sauce itself was wonderfully thick, and the heat was nicely balanced by the coconut milk and the chicken. The Yum Woon Sen was also surprisingly hot, and I was also pleased with the way the mushrooms balanced the dish. Both of these items were really impressively delicate considering how spicy they were, and I was also impressed that they used that much spice without asking us questions. The sauce on the pad thai while not hot was wonderful and much more assertive than other renditions of the dish I've had, and the pieces of tofu were a nice touch. The pork with basil was less enjoyable, and I found the sauce on the larb to be disappointingly simple compared with the other dishes.

Easily the best Thai food I've had in the DC area, and the green curry sauce was about as good as anything I've had anywhere.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the dining room, and while I was going to say it would make a great date spot for the right people I think you would have to be pretty sure the conversation was going to go well to brave the wait, which was as brutal as advertised. We ended up waiting about ninety minutes, which worked out to twice what we were initially quoted. They were polite about it, and I thought the food was well worth the wait.

Does anyone know whether the second location mentioned above ever opened?

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