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Gadarene

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  1. I'm fairly sure they'll be accommodating and flexible in that regard, at least where feasible.
  2. Shades of Bangkok Golden and Baan Thai, this place is a neighborhood gem and deserves more attention. It's run by a Lao family -- I believe that the food is cooked by the aunt and uncle of the super-nice woman who's usually at the front counter -- and when it opened a few months ago, it served predominantly Thai food with only a small section of the menu devoted to Lao dishes. They didn't expect there to be much demand for Lao food, and apparently for a while before they opened they were considering not having it on the menu at all. A funny thing happened, though: people kept ordering from the Lao side of the menu (the woman at the counter always sounds so SURPRISED about that). So they adjusted accordingly, and now they have an extensive selection of Lao specials (and some additional, interesting Thai specials) that don't appear on their takeout menu; you can only see them on a posterboard outside the restaurant (see attached photo, which doesn't quite cover all of their offerings) or in a separate specials menu in the restaurant itself that you have to ask to see, somewhat reminiscent of Bourbon's old, copper expanded whiskey list. And the food is really cool; there have been far more hits than misses in what we've tried. In particular, the Laab Xiin made with minced beef parts, including various offal, is spicy and funky and delicious, and the Khao Piak Sen is just insanely good; it's a flavorful chicken soup made with both rice noodles and chewy tapioca noodles, unlike anything I've had in this area, and if it was tasty and comforting on a 75 degree day, I can only imagine how good it would be when it's cold outside. I wish I were eating some now. We also had a Lao version of pad thai that I forget the name of -- ah! the Kuoa Mii Lao at the bottom right of the specials menu, it had strips of egg across the top -- as well as the honey pig dish, and both were really enjoyable. Anyway, go here, try some of their Lao specials, and (hopefully) enjoy. Like Adam Express and Zabver before them, they do a lot of takeout business, but they also have four or five small tables in the space, and eating there is perfectly viable. (They actually recommend not taking the Khao Piak Sen to go, since it's best when the noodles are freshly cooked.) I'm about to leave the country for a little while for a grad program, and I don't want them to suffer for business while I'm gone. Make it so they're still there when I get back!
  3. Shout out to Allie and the great bar program here. I also need to remember to ask about the specials when I come, rather than just doing my usual 2Amys-and-extended-family order of a (delicious) marinara pizza.
  4. This probably belongs in the Little Serow thread, but I impressed some folks from Isaan greatly while in Thailand by reading them Little Serow's menu, because it has dishes that they did not think were served anywhere in America. Now I'm just waiting for Little Serow to do a spicy ant egg salad, so I can compare it to the amazing one I had at an Isaan restaurant in Bangkok. I'm not holding my breath. 😀
  5. I guess it depends on what you mean by fast-casual. Any random tapas bar in Madrid, noodle joint in Tokyo, or even hawker stall in Singapore is at least as fast-casual as Donburi is in any but the most term-of-art sense, and expansion of the brand (and nearly inevitably concomitant dilution of the product) is very much the exception rather than the rule for those establishments, to my understanding. Scaling up as quickly as possible in pursuit of profits seems, if not uniquely, at least a peculiarly American mindset in the culinary world. I wouldn't mind so much if the regard for quality wasn't so clearly subordinated when it happens. (And who's to say Chaia #10 will be putting out comparable food to Chaia #1 in your scenario, or even that Chaia #1 itself wouldn't then be a shadow of what it used to be? You've repeatedly and aptly observed the tendency of restaurant groups to trot out the A-Team for newly opened restaurants just long enough to gain buzz and critical acclaim; this is sort of comparable, albeit on a different scale, because the people who are responsible for the initial quality cannot, much like General Washington, be everywhere at once, and sometimes they aren't anywhere at all, in the end.)
  6. Never been to the Shaw location, but the dishes at the Mt. Pleasant location are all still strangely sweet, to my palate. The Yum Beef is quite good if you catch it on a good day, though, and the hot and spicy noodle bowl is still reliable (although, having just returned from ten days in Thailand, I have to say that it tastes nothing like anything I had over there). I should go back to Baan more.
  7. Hear, hear! I would do many things for some creditable bonbochi, bonjiri, or nonkatsu in this city. Non-authentic but delicious pro tip: hot butter naan goes EXTREMELY well with vanilla ice cream. I discovered that in Jodhpur. (My next dream destination in India is Kerala. Virtually everyone we talked to while we were over there said it's incredible.)
  8. I had the short ribs with yams and collards at the U Street location last week; first time I'd eaten there in years. Man, that was really, really good. The short ribs were delicious.
  9. Bar Normandy in Charleston may be my favorite place anywhere.
  10. Just ate here for the first time (a farewell lunch from my law firm job) and probably the last time (since it was a farewell lunch from my law firm job). It was good! I had the consommé and the cod. The consommé was lovely, like a very refined phở broth. The cod was nicely cooked and the clam and mussel broth it came in was flavorful and surprisingly bright. All in all quite enjoyable. Very nice job by them.
  11. Welp, that will make it more difficult to have one last meal there on Friday like I'd planned. But very well-deserved!
  12. It makes me uncommonly pleased that you share my opinion of the marinara! And I appreciate the clarification on the aji tataki; I have definitely never had it and that sounds insanely good. How often is it generally available? Is it off-menu, or will it show up on the list of specials? (I've only got a handful of weeks left in DC before I'm leaving for a year, and now it's looking like it's back to Seki for me before I go.)
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