Jump to content
sphere777

Little Serow, East Dupont Circle - Isaan and Lanna (Northern Thai) Cuisine by the Owners of Komi

Recommended Posts

PoP reports that the downstairs space is almost ready.. looks pretty minimalist to me- any idea what the concept is going to be? Lots of two-tops and a bar- so I'm guessing it's not the regular Komi experience.

Follow-up from a PoP poster named "anon" claimed that it was a separate concept called Little Saroh or Little Sarah. It is supposedly having a "very soft opening" and allegedly has a Thai prie-fixe menu of $45 for walk-ins only.

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PoP reports that the downstairs space is almost ready.. looks pretty minimalist to me- any idea what the concept is going to be? Lots of two-tops and a bar- so I'm guessing it's not the regular Komi experience.

Looks like it will be a Northern Thai restaurant. From Metrocurean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to UrbanDaddy, the name of the place is Little Serow and it will be probably opening tomorrow night. They also claim their Thai prix-fixe meal will be seven courses for $45. However, these folks burned me before on Fiola IIRC so take their word for what it's worth.

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Northeastern Thai (isaan) food is furiously hot and uses pickled fresh water fish instead of regular fish sauce (Pla rah, which even some central Thai's find too pungent). They also eat sticky rice instead of jasmine rice, which needs to be eaten with your hands (just your right hand, actually). He'll probably have to make some serious concessions to the local palate. A really cool idea though. I'm kind of excited. Isaan food is good country food, maybe closer to Laotian food than the central Thai food most people are familiar with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Opening week's menu...

Week of November 8, 2011

nam phrik num

eggplant / crispy pork / herbs

tam mak taeng

cucumbers / bla rah / dried shrimp

laap pla duk

catfish / shallots / chiles

yaam het pet

mushroom / cured egg / lime

sai oua

pork sausage / kaffir / basil

jin tup

beef / charred & hammered

khanom paak khah

radish cake / fermented cabbage / egg

$45

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Opening week's menu...

Week of November 8, 2011

nam phrik num

eggplant / crispy pork / herbs

tam mak taeng

cucumbers / bla rah / dried shrimp

laap pla duk

catfish / shallots / chiles

yaam het pet

mushroom / cured egg / lime

sai oua

pork sausage / kaffir / basil

jin tup

beef / charred & hammered

khanom paak khah

radish cake / fermented cabbage / egg

$45

This looks to be northern Thai food, which is different from Northeast Thai (Isaan) food. That makes more sense to me. This is the type of food Andy Ricker has been doing successfully (much less spicy, a lot of pork, Burmese influence, great stuff). But the metro curean article said "Monis will prepare family-style menus of Isaan cuisine from Northeastern Thailand" and "Isaan food has a flavor profile that I love eating on our days off and have been cooking for our staff family meal and behind the scenes for the last few years. Traveling through northern Thailand with Anne (my wife and the other half of Komi) furthered solidified the fact that we wanted to do this." Isaan is northeast Thailand. Northern Thailand is considered a separate cultural (and culinary) region. I am confused by his quote of wanting to make Northeast Thai food (and specifically saying Isaan food) and presenting a menu of Northern Thai food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This looks to be northern Thai food, which is different from Northeast Thai (Isaan) food. That makes more sense to me. This is the type of food Andy Ricker has been doing successfully (much less spicy, a lot of pork, Burmese influence, great stuff). But the metro curean article said "Monis will prepare family-style menus of Isaan cuisine from Northeastern Thailand" and "Isaan food has a flavor profile that I love eating on our days off and have been cooking for our staff family meal and behind the scenes for the last few years. Traveling through northern Thailand with Anne (my wife and the other half of Komi) furthered solidified the fact that we wanted to do this." Isaan is northeast Thailand. Northern Thailand is considered a separate cultural (and culinary) region. I am confused by his quote of wanting to make Northeast Thai food (and specifically saying Isaan food) and presenting a menu of Northern Thai food.

May I just say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE this website and our members who comprise it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, it's good. It's really, really good.

Jill Tyler (ex-Proof, amongst other places) and Kat Bangs (sommeliere sensational) worked the floor and dispensed all manner of useful potables, along with Johnny's wife Anne and a couple other folks. The food comes quickly, and you'll have multiple dishes in front of you at a time, able to mix and match (the puddle of dressing on the cucumber salad is an excellent dipping sauce for the laab and the sausage, for example).

If you touch your utensils, you're doing it wrong. Use the herbs, use the sticky rice, use your fingers. They have plenty of napkins for you.

Not cheap, but good value given the precision of the cooking and the well-curated selection of beverages.

Also NB that there is a counter (10 seats? 8 seats? I forgot to count), so it is single-diner friendly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This looks to be northern Thai food, which is different from Northeast Thai (Isaan) food. That makes more sense to me. This is the type of food Andy Ricker has been doing successfully (much less spicy, a lot of pork, Burmese influence, great stuff). But the metro curean article said "Monis will prepare family-style menus of Isaan cuisine from Northeastern Thailand" and "Isaan food has a flavor profile that I love eating on our days off and have been cooking for our staff family meal and behind the scenes for the last few years. Traveling through northern Thailand with Anne (my wife and the other half of Komi) furthered solidified the fact that we wanted to do this." Isaan is northeast Thailand. Northern Thailand is considered a separate cultural (and culinary) region. I am confused by his quote of wanting to make Northeast Thai food (and specifically saying Isaan food) and presenting a menu of Northern Thai food.

and speaking of Andy Ricker, the NY Times has a profile piece on him eating around Chiang Mai...they even discuss some of the dishes featured on Little Serow's opening menu (sai oua and jin tup). Also has a brief discussion on the difference between Northern Thai and Issan cuisine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Northern Thai or Isaan? I have no idea, but what I ate was damn good. Each dish is packed with layers of flavor and I wanted more. The highlights for me were the tam mak taeng (cucumber salad), sai oua (pork sausage), and the jin tup (beef). And Jake is right about the dressing from the cucumber salad.

Now I need to get me some of that sparkling falanghina they are serving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on what I ate I'd say its both Northern Thai and Issan - started with a lot of sour and spice and the last two-three courses mellowed into sweet, less spicy Burmese influenced dishes. Everything was excellent, but the highlights were the mushroom salad, the crispy rice/peanut/lime dish that was like a refreshing pad thai (tons of lime and chili), and the hammered beef. Drinks are very reasonable given the prixe fix price - $5 for beer, $40-42 for bottle of wine (really interesting selection - including a Rose Chinon)/$10-12 per glass (very big by the glass selection) and $4 small pours of Belgian/Imperial IPAs. Atmosphere-wise it skews young, minimalist farmhouse design and everyone appeared to be in their 20s-30s.

Any guy with a crush on Zooey Daschel will love the service....and if you don't have a crush the service is still great, attentive and casual.

Overall, this is Komi's cool little sibling - trendier and cheaper than Komi but with the same attention to detail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any guy with a crush on Zooey Daschel will love the service....and if you don't have a crush the service is still great, attentive and casual.

Sounds like Kat was working. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Week of November 15, 2011

jeow dtap bpet

crispy pork / duck liver / shrimp paste

yaam het pet

mushroom / cured egg / lime

laap pla duk

catfish / shallots / chiles

khao tod

fermented cabbage / lime leaf / peanuts

sai oua

pork sausage / kaffir / basil

jin tup

beef / charred & hammered

kaeng hung lay

pork rib / tamarind / ginger

$45

As you can see, the menu has changed a bit from last week and it will continue to change every week. Jill told me that they will have one or two new dishes every week. I had dinner there alone at the bar tonight and I can testify that it is a pleasant place to be a solo diner. And the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. I was so enchanted by the dishes that I did not even want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to sit there, slowly eating and marveling at the complexity of the many layers of flavor.--and textures. And the length of those flavors.

They make all their own spice pastes and sauces including the fish sauce. I think I have been ruined for any local Thai restaurant I know.

The hammered beef is made with a Texan Wagyu beef. The new pork rib is so flavorful and tender that I munched the bone right down to nothing. Some of it is spicy but the side platter of cooling cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, cabbage and lettuce provided good interludes as did making little balls of sticky rice. Definitely eat with your (right) fingers food. I liked it all and right now I don't have any favorites but the rice salad pad- like dish was the most interesting interplay of textures and flavors ---perhaps. On the other hand, I am still thinking about the pork sausage made with kaffir leaf, each slice you eat with a leaf of Thai basil.

Very exciting food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not being experts on either northern Thai or Issan, my husband and I really, really enjoyed our first meal here two weekends ago--cooking style was very reminiscent of a marathon cooking lesson we had in Chiang Mai some years back (11 dishes over an eight-hour day). The mushrooms were his favorite, it was a toss up between the beef and the pork rib for me. Service was very friendly and down-to-earth. Unlike other places where we might go on rare occasions for a set meal, this could very well become a regular on our rotation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really enjoyed the hammered beef and was happy to see the shrimp paste and duck liver! That's a starter that is pretty polarizing - either you love it or hate it! The pork rinds were much more fun to dip into everything than the sticky rice, which seemed a bit mushy. I loved the side salad of cabbage and herbs - fresh and crisp and fun to roll up little bundles of food in. Service was great - casual and smart but attentive. My friend and I were lucky to snag a spot at the big bar/table in the middle at 6:30 on a Tuesday night - everyone else after us had to wait a bit...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone know if they offer a vegetarian option? (Not for me--for a teetotaling, meat-eschewing [but otherwise awesome] friend.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone know if they offer a vegetarian option? (Not for me--for a teetotaling, meat-eschewing [but otherwise awesome] friend.)

The info page online says:

"Little Serow serves an Isaan-style family meal for $45 per person. Each week's menu will be posted online Monday.

Unfortunately, no menu substitutions are possible. Menu items may include nuts and shellfish, even when not listed."

That makes me think they can't accommodate a vegetarian, even by bringing just the vegetarian options. Still, you could ask specifically; when I was there, I overheard a couple asking a cilantro issue, so maybe they could at least tell you which of the dishes are truly vege/pescatarian.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! I didn't realize they had a website.

But double drat. Now I need to find someone else to take AND find another place for dinner tonight...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How crowded is this place during weekdays? Can we get a table at 6 p.m. for 2 without waiting?

I think it really depends. I was there on a Friday and was actually waiting outside before the doors opened, as were about 6-8 other people. My +1 didn't get there til about 5:45 or 5:50, and we were one of the last groups seated before it was full (I think one other two-top and a four-top got seated after us). However, anhdeluxe mentions getting the last few seats at 6:30 on a Tuesday ... so I think it's very much luck-of-the-draw.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How crowded is this place during weekdays? Can we get a table at 6 p.m. for 2 without waiting?

I went last night for the first time. We arrived around 7:15 without a wait, and when we left around 8:30 there were still about 4 spots open at the counter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Went there prior to 6, had no problem getting a table. Even around 7:30, I saw 2 counter seats available. The food is pretty interesting, and generally pretty good. Our 3 hot dishes were sausage, meatball, and ribs. I think they were all pork products. Would've liked different proteins. Some of the dishes were pretty hot. Since their opening, I think their menu has offered lots of variety. That would definitely bring me back. Does anyone know if they have a limit on table size?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very happy with my meal here last night, probably happier than after my meal at Komi almost exactly two years before. Superb quality of ingredients and a lot of care in preparing the ingredients. The whole place felt very ethereal, like something out of a TV writer's fevered dream, just a wonderful atmosphere all around. My favorites of the night were the eggplant, the shrimp and clam salad, and the ribs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a fantastic meal at Little Serow a few nights ago. Every dish was beautifully executed and perfectly seasoned. The service was good, not great. The waitress was really friendly and informative, but we had to flag someone down continuously for water or drink refills, which was a bit irritating. Other than that though, I'm counting the weeks before I can revisit the place. I'll probably wait until closer to spring in hopes that the menu will significantly change with the season. Looking forward to seeing how the menu evolves over time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×