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Nava Thai, Suchart and Ladavan Srigatesook on Fern Street in Wheaton

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#1 deangold

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 09:20 AM

Nava Thai is at the back of the Hung Fat Thai Market on Fern Street in Wheaton. It is closed on Wednesdays. Our first visit did not register much and we have not been back in a while. But recently I have heard good things so we gave it a try!

Sunday after Thanksgiving, and wife & I needed a good lunch to get the juices flowing before going into the restaurant for a long day of accounting issues & running the restaurant for dinner. Soup was in order. We first thought about a run to Bob's Shabu squared but it was too far. Sergio's for pupusas & chicken soup sounded perfect so we drove there. When we parked around the corner I saw Nava Thai across the street. So despite our so so first meal there we returned. Good move!

We had a couple of bowls of soup & a plate of Som Tum. I had the market noodle soup with pork. My only quibble was the sweetness level of the broth, but I fear that this may just as likely be an issue of the sweetness level being proper and my just not liking it that sweet as any other reason. But since it was corrected with the addition of a little vinegar with hot chiles, what the heck. The nonrubbery and surprisingly flavorful mystery-meatballs were particularly good, the pork abundant and flavorful. Kay had the roast duck stew soup and it was fine with a lot of spice from the duck. The Som Tum was wondrous! Fiery hot, with a thicker dressing that made a more complete whole of the dish. It wasn't a simple salad of papaya in a dressing but a complex whole. I loved the use of the green beans and the squished grape tomatoes added flavor, a little relief from the considerable heat and a nice texture contrast. Unlike the recent som tum at both Ruan Thai and Thai Square, this one lacked the tiny dried shrimp but the dressing had lots of the powdered crustaceans in there. Simply the best Som Tum I have had in ages (since the hole in the wall in East Hollywood or the joints on sherman way in the San Fernando Valley of LA).

Based on a small sample size, I think that Nava is now equal to Thai Square and for many dishes, ahead of Ruan Thai. But Ruan Thai has some stuff I have never had before and does such a superb job on their veggie components of their dishes that much careful consideration will have to be given to both. But for general eating, Nava is now ahead of Ruan, but I will go to Ruan when I feel like their wonderful eggplant dishes (which is often) or the steamed bun mi and chicken in red curry at lunch.

Superb food, cheap ($36 for three beers and 3 dishes served by a wonderfully sweet server who was so concerned that we like their food. The heat kept me going all day and long into the night!! I am sure this will be a first of many visits back.


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#2 scj32

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 11:50 AM

Tried to get a seat at Royal Mile last night for their sea chanty singing. After waiting in the bar area drinking beers and eating scotch eggs (delicious) for an hour, we gave up and decided to walk over to Nava Thai.

We arrived at 9:15 not realizing that they close at 9 pm. They told us they had closed but as we talked towards the door dejected, they offered to serve us. This was our second visit here and both times the dining room only had one other table taken. We used to be regulars at Ruan Thai, but we have now defected. Hopefully, it's only a matter of time before this place gets discovered.

Anyway, on our last visit we ordered the curry puffs, Pad See Ew, and penang curry all of which were delicious. They even prepared some steamed vegetables on the side that we specially requested for our toddler who was dining with us.

Last night, I started with the curry puffs again and then decided to try the Floating Market Noodle Soup filled with Noodles, Pork, Meatballs, and the Thai version of Cracklin. When asked how spicy I wanted it, I foolishly responded very spicy. It was probably one of the spiciest things I eated, but it was amazing and ate every drop (my face sweating the whole time). The broth had a sweet and spicy taste unlike anything I had ever had. My wife had the penangy curry again and loved it. A friend of ours had one of their clay pot dishes and said she hadn't eaten anything like it since their trip to Thailand this past summer and our other friend had a crispy pork dish, which was bursting with a sweet and spicy flavor (not as spicy as the soup) and fried texture.

At the end of the meal, not only were we so grateful that they decided to stay open longer just for us, but even more grateful for the delicious meal we had eaten.

#3 giant shrimp

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 08:23 AM

Nava thai

Criss-crossed squid salad, with slivered stir-fried celery most prominent among the additions to a dish that on one small plate celebrates just about everything you expect in good thai cooking hot, sour, sweet, crunchy. (thai cusine excels at distinct crunches; I found at least five crunches in the nam kao tod at lotus of siam in las vegas last fall; I wrote them on a slip of paper that is lost somewhere in my slip of papers drawer at home, but I know that rice and peanut were two of them.)

Tom kha gai, an all-around good version of the chicken and coconut soup with fat straw mushrooms bobbing around.

Kaeng keow wan, a nice hot but not incendiary green chili that can be prepared with meat or seafood, but that we had tofu-less with vegetables, a wide assortment, eggplant the best of them. This runs all over the place and the sauce is good enough to eat by itself with a spoon.

Pad see ew, the one dish I would order again before wading further into the menu. Sen yai lusciously soft clumped noodles with soy-dark brown skins that are rice white on the inside when you pry them apart join thin slices of meat (we asked for pork because it sounded so good in the kao moo dang, which comes with rice) and Chinese broccoli. Smoke balances out the sweetness.

At $4 a bottle, you can afford to drink a lot of singha. Two or three blocks from the wheaton metro, this place is more accessible than I had expected, and not just the location, tucked behind a Vietnamese grocery store not that inconspicuously. There are 11 tables in the dining room. Our expert server had a fluent command of English, and was friendly.

Not as eccentric as thai x-ing, this seems to be a good source of authentic thai home cooking that is better, and that can be more intriguing, than just everyday.

#4 DiningInFrederick

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 04:59 PM

Not as eccentric as thai x-ing, this seems to be a good source of authentic thai home cooking that is better, and that can be more intriguing, than just everyday.

I ate here once a few months back and found it quite good with a high starter level for spicyness, but probably a better testimonial came from the instructor of my Thai cooking class at L'Academie de Cuisine. Someone asked our instructor Somchet Chumpapo the obligatory question, "What are your favorite Thai restaurants?" She listed a few that she liked but ended with Nava Thai about which she said, "If you eat here, it's as if you're eating in Thailand."
Pax,
Brian

#5 Waitman

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 09:58 AM

I won't pretend to be spectacularly versed in the nuances of Thai cuisine, but I will state without apology that Nava Thai is putting some excellent food on the table. Two brilliant takes on crispy duck (had a craving -- got a sweetish/spicy ap and shared a friend's assertively enbaseled entree), a swell pork in red (Panang?) curry, an uneventful but refreshing squic salad and -- most spectacularly -- the floating market noodles. One observatiuon -- Nava is not a fraid of grease - there was a noticeable film atop the noodles (which are served in a brothj). It's conceivable that this adds a bit of richness to the various dishes, including, as well, the duck. Friendly service, cheap beer. Kicks Thai Crossing's ass, IMO.

The tempatation to go back tonight almost overwhelms.

ETA: Just glanced through the Carman review in the City Paper and noticed that, in addition to the luscious lipids coating the top of the Floating Market noodles, beef blood adds a measure of richness to the broth. mmmmmmmmm

"Don't go braggin' about how cool and clean your kitchen is. 'Caus if your kitchen's so cool and clean, ain't nothin' cookin'!"

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#6 pkoons

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 12:22 PM

ETA: Just glanced through the Carman review in the City Paper and noticed that, in addition to the luscious lipids coating the top of the Floating Market noodles, beef blood adds a measure of richness to the broth. mmmmmmmmm

If I remember correctly, Nava Thai, and this dish specifically, was also mentioned favorably in Maxim magazine of all places... they just did an issue with a well-researched food piece that highlighted a few DC-area places.

#7 synaesthesia

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 01:01 PM

in Maxim magazine

Which, of course, you only get for the articles =D.
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#8 xcanuck

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 12:30 PM

Lunch was hot and sour seafood combo salad, and the floating market noodle soup. My second time having the noodle soup and it is one of the best noodle soups I've ever had. The heat is incredible, but not punishing (ymmv). The broth has a great body and intense flavour. The meat and noodles themselves are somewhat of an afterthought and pale in comparison to the rest of the soup. But I could be very happy just having the broth. I'm really looking forward to more meals here so I can try more of the dishes. Definitely worth a try.

#9 Waitman

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 02:16 PM

The heat is incredible, but not punishing (ymmv). The broth has a great body and intense flavour. The meat and noodles themselves are somewhat of an afterthought and pale in comparison to the rest of the soup. But I could be very happy just having the broth. I'm really looking forward to more meals here so I can try more of the dishes. Definitely worth a try.

The only two words of Thai I know are (approximating an English spelling) "ped mock" which means, roughly "really fucking hot." Somehow bringing out the Thai always gets a smile and seems to communicate that when we say "hot" we mean "Thai Hot," not "Amurrcan hot." And it does bring out the fire. Nonetheless, in fifteen years of dropping that useful phrase, we'd never gotten food that was "too" hot. Until Nava Thai. Damn, it hurt so good. It was so hot, it took hours to eat because we had to wait for the uncontrollable weeping to stop before swallowing the next bite. It was so hot, it burned coming out. It may, indeed, have been too hot.

We'll have to give it one more try just to be sure. though.

PS: speaking of English spelling, my good friend, you ain't in The Empire any more so kindly drop you're pretnetious Brit "u" when spelling "flavaour," or you're going to lose credibility except when commenting on beer, bubble and squeak and, perhaps, pemmican or whatever it is Canadians eat.

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#10 xcanuck

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 03:17 PM

It was so hot, it took hours to eat because we had to wait for the uncontrollable weeping to stop before swallowing the next bite. It was so hot, it burned coming out. It may, indeed, have been too hot.

Pussy boy.

PS: speaking of English spelling, my good friend, you ain't in The Empire any more so kindly drop you're pretnetious Brit "u" when spelling "flavaour," or you're going to lose credibility except when commenting on beer, bubble and squeak and, perhaps, pemmican or whatever it is Canadians eat.

This is just one of the initial steps in the ongoing plan for Canadian World Domination. You will be one of us. Resistance is futile, eh?

#11 JeffC

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 03:51 PM

Lunch was hot and sour seafood combo salad, and the floating market noodle soup. My second time having the noodle soup and it is one of the best noodle soups I've ever had. The heat is incredible, but not punishing (ymmv). The broth has a great body and intense flavour. The meat and noodles themselves are somewhat of an afterthought and pale in comparison to the rest of the soup. But I could be very happy just having the broth. I'm really looking forward to more meals here so I can try more of the dishes. Definitely worth a try.

I had my first Nava Thai experience just over a week ago--a bowl of that incredible soup. Maybe the hottest thing I've ever eaten, but so rich and good that I couldn't stop slurping up the broth. I only slowed down to dry my tears....and take a few bites of the very flavorful meatballs that come in soup.

Since that day I've eaten maybe six or seven meals there. With my wife out of town and the proximity of the restaurant, I've been taking at least half my meals there. So far my favorites are the Floating Market soup and the papaya salad, maybe the best papaya salad I've ever tasted. The Panang Curry (red) is also terrific--it easily rivals that from Ruan Thai, but may be just a tick richer.

Needless to say, I'm quite smitten with this place.....

#12 synaesthesia

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 10:21 AM

I really don't have an incredible amount to add to the existing conversation. But I would definitely add another plug for the crispy pork. It is from the belly and has a crispy, crunchy skin and comes with broccoli. Didn't find it particularly spicy. But this dish is a million times better version than the roast suckling pig you get at Chinese places. Even as leftovers it's still delicious.

The dipping sauce that comes with their spring rolls is a crazy neon red, but rather than the regular sweet and sour this was surprisingly sour and shocked my tastebuds a bit.
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#13 xcanuck

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 09:52 AM

The recent favorable review in the WaPo, along with it's inclusion in the fall dining guide, have resulted in the inevitable throngs of people waiting in the parking lot of Nava Thai for a table. While this, in of itself, isn't really a problem, the good folks at Nava Thai need to adjust to the new found attention (as do we patrons).

We went on Saturday night but the lineup was well out into the parking lot. We anticipated this and were all ready with out take out orders. We were told it'd be ready in 40 mins. No problem - we live 10 mins away and didn't mind making a return trip for some of their fabulous food. To make a long story short, it ended up being 2 hrs before our take out way ready. Lisa spent over an hour waiting for the food. To their credit, the people working there were very apologetic, gave Lisa a free glass to wine while she waited, discounted the bill 15%, and threw in a few extra dishes.

This service glitch isn't going to stop me from going (as a matter of fact, I may return today for lunch) but people should be aware that Nava Thai does not take reservations so get there early or be prepared to wait for a long time. And don't plan on take out on busy evenings unless you order well in advance.

ps...needless to say, the food was freaking amazing!

#14 JeffC

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 12:42 PM

I was a bit luckier than you Saturday night. I called a little before 7PM and was told that my order would be ready in 45 minutes, so I showed up on time and the order was ready. Mine might have been a fairly simple order--stir-fried seafood in chili sauce and the country beef salad. And yes, the food WAS amazing. The increased business hasn't affected the quality of food at all. I've been eating the country beef salad regularly, but the pan-fried seafood was a revelation. The curry is a bit like the Panang red curry, only hotter and richer--bowl-licking good!

It was really slammed when I got there--the little vestibule outside the door was packed and there were three or four groups waiting outside. Weekday lunches are still a good bet, as is an early evening dinner during the week. The key for both is to get there a bit on the early side.

#15 Bob Loblaw

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 03:49 PM

I'm happy to report that this place lives up to the hype. I went here on Saturday a little after 6pm and had to wait about 15 minutes for a table for 2. I'm glad we got there when we did, because it looked like a long line started forming shortly after we were seated.

For the appetizer, we got the Squid Salad. It was pretty good, but unfortunately, at one point I detected a note that reminded me of lemon Pledge. For the entrees, we split the Floating Market Noodle Soup and the Crispy Pork Krapow. My plus one was a little wary about the spice of the soup, so when the waitress asked how spicy we wanted it, we went with medium. It was still pretty damn hot, as I was sweating throughout the meal. Next time I'd like to try it at full strength. I wish this place was walking distance from my house because all I could think about while eating it was how perfect this soup would be on a cold, snowy, winter's day. The pork was amazing. Perfectly cooked, with crispy skin and a nice meat/fat ratio. It was served in a dark brown sauce with crispy holy basil and chilies. You could see a layer of fat floating on top of the sauce (not that I'm complaining). I'd have a hard time not ordering this dish on future visits (of which there will be many). Sorry, arteries!

I'm glad this place is getting so much attention because they definitely deserve it. Here's to their continuing success and hope that the quickly increasing volume doesn't affect the quality.

#16 MC Horoscope

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 04:05 PM

do they serve beer/wine/alcohol here?

Beer and wine. Nothing to shout about. No alcohol.

#17 tirereviews

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 10:55 AM

I have to give a so-so review for Nava Thai. For those who love the place, more power to you. If you haven't gone yet, make sure you set aside at least an hour and a half if you're dining during peak hours, and expect the food to be saltier than other Thai places.

We were so excited to go after reading Tom Sietsema's glowing recommendation in the Post magazine. We got there about 5:45 PM on a Sunday evening, about 3 weeks after the Post mention, and we got a table right away. To start, we had the Floating Market Noodle Soup and Tom Yum soup. Both were very delicious; the Floating Market soup was the first time I'd had anything with flavors like that. It's reason enough to go to try for that as an appetizer at least once. Next, we had their Pad Thai, Lard Na (Thai chow fun), Crispy Pork Krapow, and Hoi Tod (crispy pan fried battered mussels). It took over 30 minutes for those dishes to come out, and half of them were cold (not even warm -- they apparently don't keep the plates hot). If I went again, I'd ask them to bring out dishes as soon as each one is made.

Portion sizes were laughable, even for a Thai place. What they did is use heaps of bean sprouts as filler on the sides of most entrees. If a normal Pad Thai entree is perhaps 1/2 lb. of noodles, this had about 1/4 to 1/3 lb. The flavor was good however. The Lard Na was very small (again about 1/4 lb. of noodles and a few slices of beef), and the Crispy Pork Krapow was literally about 12 bite-size pieces of pork, however, they were extremely tasty (and fatty). The Hoi Tod was a really strange dish. We were expecting whole mussels or at least something resembling them, but the pieces were more like mussel-flavored fried eggs, as if they just smashed mussel juice into the eggs. Don't order this dish. All of the dishes except the Pad Thai were a tad on the salty side.

We were just underwhelmed and probably had too high of an expectation going in. As much as we wanted to like it, we would probably not go again.

#18 deangold

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 11:23 AM

I was there this week for lunch with my usual som tum and the FMNS. The som tum was its usual model of firey and crispy and excellent as always. Since I go there minutes after 11:20 and they had 2 orders ahead of mine, it did surprise me that it took 25-30 minutes after ordering to get it, and then that my FMNS took an additional 15 minutes to come. The soup was very sweet, sweeter than I remembered, and the dish was served lukewarm. But 45 plus minutes into my lunch I didn't really have time to send it back. Aside from not being hot, it was still amazingly good: those first few crunchy bites of the crispy pork skin contrast with alter bites where the cracklins have absorbed the soup and turn soft, slippery and unctuous.

Nava Thai has never been fast, but this lunch was beyond leisurely slow. I will give them a time to get back onto their former track before going back. That Som Tum is too good to be marred by getting PO'd by slow service.

Dean Gold ~ Chef/Owner Dino's Grotto

1914 Ninth Street NW

Metro Green/Yellow Shaw Howard or U/Cardozo

Pay Parking Lots: 7th & T ~ U between 9th & 10th

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#19 JeffC

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 11:28 AM

Portion sizes were laughable, even for a Thai place. What they did is use heaps of bean sprouts as filler on the sides of most entrees.

Whether or not the cooking pleases your taste is a matter of personal preference, but one of the things I like about Nava Thai is the size of the portions. Most restaurants, IMO, give you way too much food. I wouldn't characterize the portion sizes as "laughable". The Floating Market Noodle Soup is, for me, a satisfying meal and the curries and stir-fries invariable leave me satisfied. I appreciate that Nava doesn't overwhelm me with more food than I can reasonably eat in one sitting.

#20 Choirgirl21

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 02:41 PM

I went for lunch today with 6 other friends. It was by far one of our longest lunches, but we did order appetizers. I ordered the crispy duck with fried basil that is mentioned in Sietsma's review. It was outstanding. The duck was incredibly crispy (as advertised :lol: ) in a rich brown sauce with tons of fried basil on top. This dish has one lightning bolt btw (they go up to 3) and I thought it was the perfect amount of heat. I'm a person who can tolerate a decent amount, but not nearly what some people (like my friends) can. The red curry that my friend got (2 lightning bolts) was spicier but still tolerable for me, but I think I might have struggled eating a whole bowl of it without a lot of rice. I think there's only one dish with the full 3 bolts, and none of us ordered it, but I am guessing those who love spicy food could tolerate it - my friends were adding heat from the bowls on the table in the form of peppers and chili powder to heat up their dishes.

Overall, I think the duck was the best dish, but people were also pleased with the oxtail soup and the chicken dish (last on the menu). A friend who got the dish with pork 3 ways (including chinese sausage) wasn't wowed. I tasted his pork belly and it was just a plain but nicely cooked piece of pork belly, nothing more or less.

For apps, the curry puffs were tasty and the spring roll was, well, a spring roll. Although different from others I've had, it didn't wow me.

As far as portion size goes, I passed out tastes of my duck to friends and still struggled to finish mine. Everyone else with me was male, and no one left hungry (some left stuffed). If you have a heartier appetite, going with a meat-based dish like mine might be the better option.

I will definitely be going back, although maybe for dinner when I have more time.

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#21 MC Horoscope

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 04:50 PM

They are going to be moving to the Rockville/Bethesda area to a bigger place. I didn't get any details but I was put on their e-mail list to be notified once they have moved.

I must have misunderstood the waitress when she said "by the end of the month." Has anyone else heard about this?

I will miss going there for lunch. The new location will be out of my range.

#22 DiningInFrederick

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 09:36 PM

They are going to be moving to the Rockville/Bethesda area to a bigger place. I didn't get any details but I was put on their e-mail list to be notified once they have moved.

This is the best food news I've heard in a long time! I can't tell you how often I crave the quality of Thai food from Nava Thai or Ruan Thai, but I haven't found anything close in Bethesda or Rockville and I hate cutting over to Wheaton during rush hour traffic. Some dishes from Amina Thai have been fine stand-ins, but I'm excited to not have to settle for much longer.

Pax,
Brian

#23 Tim Carman

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 05:25 PM

Some news on the move.
Tim Carman
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Washington Post
Phone: 202-334-6587
E-mail: carmant@washpost.com

#24 JPW

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 06:11 PM

Some news on the move.

That could be the death knell for Thai Derm.

Joe
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#25 dlebby

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 08:43 AM

Sentimental fool that I am, I couldn't pass up the final evening of Nava Thai at their current location. It was slammed, half folks who had read about it and were stopping by for a first experience, half by old timers. No news yet on a new location, although I was told that several sites in Wheaton were under consideration, as was Silver Spring, and College Park was not. We bid a fond (if temporary) farewell to the Floating Market Soup, the Crispy Duck w/Basil, the Crispy Pork w/ Chinese Broccoli, the Pud Thai, and the Grilled Chicken w/ Sticky Rice. We over ordered but it was a farewell party.

There was a fast flying rumor that the close was because the owners of the market, observing the marked increase in business, want to open their own restaurant in the space. When I asked the gentleman behind the market counter if he liked the food at Nava, he replied, "Meh. Their soup is too sweet."

#26 dlebby

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 09:25 AM

Anybody know when/where they're re-opening? I'm having a hankerin'...

Asked Kliman on his chat yesterday. Here's his response:

No news yet. I know the owners, Ladavan and Suchart Srigatesook, would like to stay in or around Wheaton. I hope that's what happens.
They've been looking also at Bethesda and Rockville. If they're smart, they stay small, and don't try to attempt much more than what they did in the old place.

I already miss the mindblowingly good soups ... and the Panang curry with pork ... and the crosshatched squid with hot and sour sauce ... and the fried mussels with green curry ... and the fabulous pad Thai ...

(According to one of my sources, by the way, the reason for the shut-down and move was not envy on the part of the grocery store that owns the building and has watched a stream of customers pour in ever since our review and then the Post's. This source contends that Nava simply has not paid its bills.)

#27 JeffC

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 06:58 PM

According to a poster on Chowhound, there is a sign in the window of the recently closed Taverna Kefi--less than a block from the old Nava--indicating that Nava Thai will re-open in that location soon.

Great news if true!

Edit: Checked it out for myself. The Nava Thai sign is up, so it looks like it's happening.

#28 JPW

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 08:38 PM

According to a poster on Chowhound, there is a sign in the window of the recently closed Taverna Kefi--less than a block from the old Nava--indicating that Nava Thai will re-open in that location soon.

Great news if true!

Edit: Checked it out for myself. The Nava Thai sign is up, so it looks like it's happening.

I wish them luck. That space is huge. You could easily fit 4 or 5 Thai restaurants in there.

Joe
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#29 dlebby

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 01:54 PM

Just bumped into the niece of the owners while out Christmas shopping who confirms the "just down the street" news above and added that while still uncertain they're pointing for a January 3rd. reopening.

#30 dlebby

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 11:48 AM

Ta-Da!

Dear Valued Customers,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Thank you for your continued support on Nava Thai Restaurant. We are now happy to inform you that we have found the new place which is located right next to our old parking lot, and of course only a few steps away from the previous location.

Our grand opening date will be January 3rd, 2009. Please visit our website at www.navathai.food.officelive.com for our new hours and further information. Please print out a coupon from the attached file to receive a discount during your next visit to our restaurant.

We're looking forward to seeing you again soon,

Best Wishes,

The Nava Thai Family
11301 Fern Street
Wheaton MD 20902
Tel: (240) 430-0495

#31 squidsdc

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 07:57 PM

The good news...they're open!

We arrived around 5:30 and there were quite a few poeple inside. Kudos to the gracious women welcoming folks in the door. They were being honest in letting us know that they could seat us, but we would have a 45 minute to one hour wait for food, due to being short-staffed. We were too starved to wait, so we left to check out Ruan Thai instead. Next time...

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"--The Great Oz


#32 deangold

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 01:35 PM

Lunch today was a pure delight. I ws the second table seated and the food flowed out quickly. Som TUm, Larb and Seafood with Red Chili were all superb. Great first meal in the new digs.

Dean Gold ~ Chef/Owner Dino's Grotto

1914 Ninth Street NW

Metro Green/Yellow Shaw Howard or U/Cardozo

Pay Parking Lots: 7th & T ~ U between 9th & 10th

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#33 dinwiddie

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 09:10 AM

We went a couple of days ago and enjoyed it very much. They were very lucky to be able to take over the space the Greek place had without having to make any changes. Same tables, plates, etc.

The food is very good. The only complaint I have is that they do not have a whole fish on the menu. We will definitely be adding Nava Thai to our Thai restaurant rotation along with Ruan Thai and Amana Thai.

#34 xcanuck

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:19 PM

Just came back from lunch at Nava Thai with DanielK, Waitman, Mrs B, squidsdc and others. Sad to say that this is the first mediocre meal I've had at Nava Thai. I don't know if they were understaffed or if this is part of a downward trend, but the food took a long time to come out and yet much of it was overcooked.

The highlights of the meal should have been the crispy duck and the whole flounder. Both had been fried to within an inch of their lives. It was a real shame, especially in the case of the flounder, which had a wonderful chili sauce on it. But it did make for some extra crispy bones, which were fun to eat.

The Guay Jub (pork chitterlings) came in a nice, rich broth but was one dimensional in it's taste. That could definitely have used more spice. Even the much vaunted Floating Market Noodle Soup was lacking it's usual burn, even though we specifically asked for it to come out as hot as they could make it.

Some items, like the hot and sour seafood salad and stir fried cashews were very good but overall, this was a mediocre meal. I'm willing to cut Nava Thai a lot of slack as this is the first meal in about a dozen that didn't measure up. It would just be a shame if this wonderful restaurant collapsed under the weight of it's own success.

#35 deangold

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 04:18 PM

Just came back from lunch at Nava Thai with DanielK, Waitman, Mrs B, squidsdc and others. Sad to say that this is the first mediocre meal I've had at Nava Thai. I don't know if they were understaffed or if this is part of a downward trend, but the food took a long time to come out and yet much of it was overcooked.

The highlights of the meal should have been the crispy duck and the whole flounder. Both had been fried to within an inch of their lives. It was a real shame, especially in the case of the flounder, which had a wonderful chili sauce on it. But it did make for some extra crispy bones, which were fun to eat.

The Guay Jub (pork chitterlings) came in a nice, rich broth but was one dimensional in it's taste. That could definitely have used more spice. Even the much vaunted Floating Market Noodle Soup was lacking it's usual burn, even though we specifically asked for it to come out as hot as they could make it.

Some items, like the hot and sour seafood salad and stir fried cashews were very good but overall, this was a mediocre meal. I'm willing to cut Nava Thai a lot of slack as this is the first meal in about a dozen that didn't measure up. It would just be a shame if this wonderful restaurant collapsed under the weight of it's own success.

We ate there the other night a little on the late side and our meal was not up to the usual standards. But putting our meal into perspective, it was still one of the better Thai meals available in MOCO and not that far fromt he standard at Thai Square that I have experienced. It paled in comparison to the previous heights of Nava Thai rather than being a bad meal per se. I for one am giving them some slack to get it together in a much larger space. I will be back to see how they do as they hoefully grow into the space as it still is some of the best food in Wheaton. But it was almost preditable that they ould encounter these growing pains given the major increase in size. I hope time brings back what made them so special: a razor sharp edge to their flavors that now seems a bit muddy.

Dean Gold ~ Chef/Owner Dino's Grotto

1914 Ninth Street NW

Metro Green/Yellow Shaw Howard or U/Cardozo

Pay Parking Lots: 7th & T ~ U between 9th & 10th

Dino's Grotto In Shaw
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#36 Tujague

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 04:55 PM

Bob and I had our first lunch at Nava Thai on Sunday afternoon, so I can't comment on declining quality; we both liked it alot. We both had pork dishes, and my only complaint was that in mine the meat in mind was rather fatty, and the sauce a bit greasy. On the other hand, the flavors were very good, and portions generous for the price. As others have said, service was a bit slow, and the space is sort of loud. Of course, judged against the standards of Capitol Hill Thai restaurants (like the gawdawful Old Siam), it wouldn't take much to make a good impression on me. But it was the first time I've been to a Thai restaurant in the area that left me wanting to explore way beyond my usual comfort zone--even though I hear those "standards" are some of the better dishes on the menu. I'll be glad to go back.

"There's no need to get snippy. I'm just doing my job here."--Marge Gunderson, Fargo


#37 deangold

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:30 PM

Bob and I had our first lunch at Nava Thai on Sunday afternoon, so I can't comment on declining quality; we both liked it alot. We both had pork dishes, and my only complaint was that in mine the meat in mind was rather fatty, and the sauce a bit greasy. On the other hand, the flavors were very good, and portions generous for the price. As others have said, service was a bit slow, and the space is sort of loud. Of course, judged against the standards of Capitol Hill Thai restaurants (like the gawdawful Old Siam), it wouldn't take much to make a good impression on me. But it was the first time I've been to a Thai restaurant in the area that left me wanting to explore way beyond my usual comfort zone--even though I hear those "standards" are some of the better dishes on the menu. I'll be glad to go back.

My point exactly. To a newbie, it is still damn fine Thai eating. We regulars are just spoiled!

Dean Gold ~ Chef/Owner Dino's Grotto

1914 Ninth Street NW

Metro Green/Yellow Shaw Howard or U/Cardozo

Pay Parking Lots: 7th & T ~ U between 9th & 10th

Dino's Grotto In Shaw
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#38 MC Horoscope

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 04:31 PM

Lest anyone think the food there is bland now, I had the larp appetizer last Friday and it was very hot for being marked 2 peppers out of 3! I can't imagine a dish marked with 3 peppers, and I like spicy!

They think they'll have their beer and wine license by mid-March.

#39 DanielK

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 05:43 PM

Lest anyone think the food there is bland now, I had the larp appetizer last Friday and it was very hot for being marked 2 peppers out of 3! I can't imagine a dish marked with 3 peppers, and I like spicy!

It's obviously hit-or-miss - we ASKED for very spicy, and ordered something with 3 peppers, and it came out MAYBE a weak 2.

#40 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 01:23 PM

The Floating Market Noodle Soup came out very hot today and very salty (they did not ask how spicy I wanted it). I thought the meatballs tasted delicious, although they were similar to the ones found at Pho joints even though I think they're made in-house. The pork rinds were also good, after being softened by the broth. I didn't finish the noodle or the soup because it was extremely hot and salty. I was sweating, my nose was running, and I was choking. I also had two more dishes, although they didn't show up until I finished picking through my noodle soup.

I ordered the crispy pork with chinese broccoli and tilapia in chili sauce. The pork was fried so the skin turned into pork rind, which adds a nice crunch but I think the meat itself was a little overcooked. The fish was fantastic, lighted battered and then cooked in a fairly spicy chili sauce with a hint of sweetness. I use think I didn't care for Thai food but Nava Thai definitely gave me a new outlook.

#41 xcanuck

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 10:00 AM

I think we will be there for dinner tomorrow. Any updates?

We had lunch there two days ago. Again, my complaint is that they're really toning down the heat. And as Ericandblueboy mentioned, the salt level seems to have increased. The larb gai is a good example. It had virtually no heat and was all salt.

I hate asking them to crank up the heat - it makes it sound like that's the only reason we non-Thai people go there. But there are some dishes where the heat is really important. *sigh*

#42 lovely6218

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 10:16 AM

We had lunch there two days ago. Again, my complaint is that they're really toning down the heat. And as Ericandblueboy mentioned, the salt level seems to have increased. The larb gai is a good example. It had virtually no heat and was all salt.

I hate asking them to crank up the heat - it makes it sound like that's the only reason we non-Thai people go there. But there are some dishes where the heat is really important. *sigh*

We got dinner there last night, and we have eaten at both the old location and the new. Last night got the curry puffs, panang curry, and the tom yum soup. We didn't notice a huge decrease in the heat but at the same time I have previously ordered the floating market noodle soup and couldn't eat it because it was too hot (I am more sensitive to severe heat so I generally stay away from the 3 pepper dishes, two is my limit!) but the tom yum and curry were at a heat levels I remembered.

Possibly they are reducing the heat amount of the FMNS because they are serving so many more people. When I went to pick-up our food the place was packed, for a Tuesday night I think that is fantastic. But with more people coming in they may be tweaking the heat amount to accomodate more patrons who can't stand such high levels of heat. Just a thought, I know that defeats the whole purpose of having this really traditional Thai food but they can't have lots of people sending food back and earn a profit.

#43 Waitman

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 10:45 AM

We got dinner there last night, and we have eaten at both the old location and the new. Last night got the curry puffs, panang curry, and the tom yum soup. We didn't notice a huge decrease in the heat but at the same time I have previously ordered the floating market noodle soup and couldn't eat it because it was too hot (I am more sensitive to severe heat so I generally stay away from the 3 pepper dishes, two is my limit!) but the tom yum and curry were at a heat levels I remembered.

Possibly they are reducing the heat amount of the FMNS because they are serving so many more people. When I went to pick-up our food the place was packed, for a Tuesday night I think that is fantastic. But with more people coming in they may be tweaking the heat amount to accomodate more patrons who can't stand such high levels of heat. Just a thought, I know that defeats the whole purpose of having this really traditional Thai food but they can't have lots of people sending food back and earn a profit.

Nor, however, can they make a profit by ticking off a lot of regulars who prefer full fire in their Thai treats and decide to abandon NAva for a less diluted experience. Scorned regulars ara a pissy bunch.

I suspect (based on one visit to the new spot and what's been written here) that the kitchen just isn't up to serving the larger crowds yet, and that there's still a strong possibility that they'll get their groove back.

In the mean time, the magic words: "ped mahk."

"Don't go braggin' about how cool and clean your kitchen is. 'Caus if your kitchen's so cool and clean, ain't nothin' cookin'!"

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#44 deangold

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:50 AM

I am still waiting for the return of the old flavor profiles at Nava Thai. Yesterday's lunch and a late and very hurried dinner (they asked us to pay half way thru eating our entrees) were just better than average Thai. The flavors are muted and the heat is way down. I will continue to support them as they are still probably the best Thai in Wheaton and if they even get close to where they were they will again be a gem, but for now, in my experience, they are not back. On those days I need something really spicy, I go elsewhere.

Dean Gold ~ Chef/Owner Dino's Grotto

1914 Ninth Street NW

Metro Green/Yellow Shaw Howard or U/Cardozo

Pay Parking Lots: 7th & T ~ U between 9th & 10th

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#45 Rhone1998

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 05:08 PM

I am still waiting for the return of the old flavor profiles at Nava Thai. Yesterday's lunch and a late and very hurried dinner (they asked us to pay half way thru eating our entrees) were just better than average Thai. The flavors are muted and the heat is way down. I will continue to support them as they are still probably the best Thai in Wheaton and if they even get close to where they were they will again be a gem, but for now, in my experience, they are not back. On those days I need something really spicy, I go elsewhere.

Can anyone report any improvements in the last couple of weeks? Was thinking of trying Nava Thai (for the first time) this weekend.

--
Dan


#46 Rhone1998

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 07:28 AM

I'll go ahead and answer my own question. :rolleyes:

We decided to give Nava Thai a go last night. Again, this was our first trip there (new location or old) but if this place is in decline, I seriously wish I'd tried it before. A great meal - Highlights were the floating market soup that everyone has raved about. This is far and away the best Thai soup I've ever had, the dish really being all about that intense, rich broth. (also loved the crispy pork rind topping, which gave it an added richness and nice contrasting textures). I asked for medium spicy, and it came out fiery hot for me (I have a pretty high tolerance). They were definitely not dumbing it down for the Americans. I also had the crispy stir fried duck, which, although only crispy in parts, was a hit flavor-wise. My take from last night is that the kitchen here does really well roasting their spices to get that extra bit of flavor out of them. Even when the dishes weren't especially spicy (like the duck) there was an intensity there that you don't find too often.

We waited about 20 minutes for a table after arriving just before 8:30 on Saturday, and by 9:15 or so there were several open tables to be had (though this was the night before Easter, so YMMV). Service was friendly, with a few minor issues that did little to detract from what was overall a fantastic experience.

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#47 synaesthesia

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:42 AM

Can anyone report any improvements in the last couple of weeks? Was thinking of trying Nava Thai (for the first time) this weekend.

<bump> Debating whether to bring the parents here this weekend. It's either this or pho and banh xeo, I think.
Jamie

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#48 xcanuck

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 05:56 PM

<bump> Debating whether to bring the parents here this weekend. It's either this or pho and banh xeo, I think.

I can't say too much. I ordered the floating market noodle soup last week for lunch and it was back to it's original wonderfulness. Not as bland or salty as a few months back. So take that for what it's worth.

#49 Marcus Aurelius

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 10:25 AM

I'll go ahead and answer my own question. :blink:

We decided to give Nava Thai a go last night. Again, this was our first trip there (new location or old) but if this place is in decline, I seriously wish I'd tried it before. A great meal - Highlights were the floating market soup that everyone has raved about. This is far and away the best Thai soup I've ever had, the dish really being all about that intense, rich broth. (also loved the crispy pork rind topping, which gave it an added richness and nice contrasting textures). I asked for medium spicy, and it came out fiery hot for me (I have a pretty high tolerance). They were definitely not dumbing it down for the Americans. I also had the crispy stir fried duck, which, although only crispy in parts, was a hit flavor-wise. My take from last night is that the kitchen here does really well roasting their spices to get that extra bit of flavor out of them. Even when the dishes weren't especially spicy (like the duck) there was an intensity there that you don't find too often.

We waited about 20 minutes for a table after arriving just before 8:30 on Saturday, and by 9:15 or so there were several open tables to be had (though this was the night before Easter, so YMMV). Service was friendly, with a few minor issues that did little to detract from what was overall a fantastic experience.

Two weeks ago, on a Friday evening, I made my maiden voyage to the esteemed Nava Thai in Wheaton. There has been an abundant of material written about this restaurant; however, I need to post something to Don Rockwell to keep my "membership." The “Som Tum Thai” (papaya salad) was a memorable dish that I will order again; the papaya strands were fresh, clean, and crunchy with a few cilantro leaves tossed in. The “Larp Gai” (hot & sour chicken) featured white meat, and was chunkier than other Larp Gai dishes (I have sampled in Thai restaurants on the west coast). I was underwhelmed by the fried rice. (It’s disappointing when results don’t meet expectations.) I wanted fragrant and flavorful fried rice. What arrived was bland and forgetful.

On my second visit this past Saturday night, I ordered the “fish cakes” (some places label it tod mun pla), “Tom Kha” (coconut soup), “Yum Woon Sen” (hot bean thread salad), and “Kaeng Keow Warn” (Green Curry). The fish cakes reminded me of “average” fish sausage. Although, the condiment that accompanied the tod mun pla was the best I have ever tasted! The sauce was not the usual over-sweet, gooey dipping style. It had a very “developed,” mild and pleasant flavor. Of course, there were the usual diced cucumbers in it. Second place went to Yum Woon Sen. Oh my, the combination of the clear noodles with shrimp, herbs, spices and chicken was divine! Be careful, this dish packs heat, and made my eyes water. My favorite of the evening was the Kaeng Keow Warn. It was so delicious, I skipped the white rice, and ate the curry plain. I felt like a panda eating all the bamboo shoots that came with the curry!
:D
This was not the over-salty curry that I have experienced at other establishments.

#50 deangold

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 06:44 AM

We have been eating at Nava Thai about once a month recently. There have been some really subpar meals in there, and one that almost caused me to stop going, but the last two showed an uptick. Last night, we ahd a trio of dishes: Lemon Beef Salad was spot on with flavors if the sauce, a wonder of the old Nava Thai quality. But the beef itself wsa very over done flank and there were large sections of raw green onion which added a super strong element. B+ for the ingredients, a for the saucing. Also had Garlic & Pepper shrimp which needed a litttle more punch but was really fine. A-. The sauce got slatered over the rice. Poh Tok has a fine lemony broth, but the quality fo the seafood in the pot was mixed: tough green mussels, really good scallops & squid, odd bits of fish trim, lots of fake crab. Overall the soup was superb, the stuff in it forgettable. B+. So overall the meal was a B+/A-, not bad but not the A+ times of old.

It is, along with Ruan Thai, one of my favorite two Thai places in the Wheaton/Silver Spring area. But it no longer stands head and shoulders above RT. I will go to NT when I want striking saucing and RT when I want more complex, smoky/earthy flavors. Its a good thing to have two ery good restaurants on the way home from work.

Dean Gold ~ Chef/Owner Dino's Grotto

1914 Ninth Street NW

Metro Green/Yellow Shaw Howard or U/Cardozo

Pay Parking Lots: 7th & T ~ U between 9th & 10th

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