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Padaek (Formerly Bangkok Golden), Chef Seng Luangrath's Lao and Thai in Seven Corners Plaza

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www.bangkokgolden7corners.com
6395 Seven Corners Center
Falls Church, VA 22044

Tom Sietsema did a piece on this small Thai place back in November ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/18/AR2010111805045.html ). I am happy to report that the secret menu is secret no more. When we entered the small place this afternoon, we were handed two menus, one Thai and one Laotian. I never had Laotian food before, it was like Thai, but more rustic. Like other southeast Asian cuisine, Laotians make heavy usage of fresh vegetables and herbs as evident by the numbers of salads on the menu. We ordered the Laotian sausage, orm beef, crispy rice salad, and an order of chicken satay for the kiddo. My favorite dish was the crispy rice salad, consisted of herbs (probably cilantro and lime leaves), coconut, onions, scallions, julienne pork skin, ham, peanuts, and crispy rice in a refreshing spicy lime dressing with large lettuce leaves served on the side. You are suppose to eat it like a bulgogi by wrapping the salad inside the lettuce leaves. It was a prefect balance of savory, sour, and spicy, with bites of crispy rice and peanut for textural contrast. The flavor was incredibly complex and words do not do justice in describing this dish.

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www.bangkokgolden7corners.com

Same strip as Hong Kong Palace, btw. Thank you very much for starting this thread. :)

Regarding the third picture: is anyone as SICK as I am of raw, red onion or unmitigated garlic in dishes? Sometimes, it seems that there's nowhere to turn for healthy food that doesn't permeate through your pores eight hours later.

Does anyone know the relationship of the Seven Corners Bangkok Golden with the Fairfax and Fort Washington locations? The carryout menu lists all three (so obviously there is a connection), but when you go to the main website, you find a link to a second website for the Seven Corners location, which seems to be the only one with a Laotian menu.

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Same strip as Hong Kong Palace, btw. Thank you very much for starting this thread. :)

Regarding the third picture: is anyone as SICK as I am of raw, red onion or unmitigated garlic in dishes? Sometimes, it seems that there's nowhere to turn for healthy food that doesn't permeate through your pores eight hours later.

Does anyone know the relationship of the Seven Corners Bangkok Golden with the Fairfax and Fort Washington locations? The carryout menu lists all three (so obviously there is a connection), but when you go to the main website, you find a link to a second website for the Seven Corners location, which seems to be the only one with a Laotian menu.

The problem:

A bottle of expensive, way-too-young, way-too-old, way-too-tannic, way-too-prematurely-bricking (purchased from MacArthur several years ago) 1996 Oddero Barolo which was something not unlike drinking a metallic Band-Aid with the faintest hint of black cherry.

The solution:

Orm Pork.

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You should try the Laotian menu at Bangkok Golden. Hottest damned food I can recall eating (and liking), with the possible exception of the vidaloo at Haandi.

Chef and I along with Adam and Justin and a couple of others literally tried the entire Laotian menu last week - most of it excellent and spicy. The next day even spicier.

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We ate here the last time I was in town. The bamboo salad, ordered "Lao hot," was in fact, insanely hot. We orderd the Orm Lao hot, too, after being assured by our server that the heat is tamed in the Orm. True. The Orm was spicy, but in a warming kind of way, not in a burning kind of way. We also had tilapia - it seemed to be steamed under a lot of herbs. Very mild, but the piece of fish itself was huge and fresh. The Lao sausage on the appetizer menu were tasty. I liked it a lot, but given our general lack of wheels, it's not likely to be a regular thing for us.

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Chef and I along with Adam and Justin and a couple of others literally tried the entire Laotian menu last week - most of it excellent and spicy. The next day even spicier.

Ouch...!

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Ouch...!

The real "ouch" is picturing the facial contortions, the beads of sweat welling up on the forehead, the huffing and puffing from having sprinted up the stairs, and the inevitable, liberating, primal moans of relief resulting from the climactic discharge, heard several houses down the street, as if a wounded elephant, shot in the testicle by a British colonial hunter using a dum-dum bullet, had trumpeted out a G-major octave study through his angrily engorged trunk.

And this is *before* he needed to use the restroom. You really need to stop watching porn so early in the day, Mark.

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Had lunch there by myself today. It was quite busy - but most people were chowing down on the buffet. I tried a couple of things that looked good on the Lao menu that we didn't try last week, namely:

CHUNH NOK/CRISPY QUAIL $7.95 Quail marinated with lemongrass, ginger & black pepper

TOMP PHO $8.95 Lao style pho noodle soup, Beef, tripe, meatball, topped with tomato & fried garlic.

The quail was definitely deep fried. The skin was crispy, while the meat wasn't moist, it definitely wasn't dry and tough. The flavor was pleasant but could be more aggressive. A pretty good dish if you don't mind dealing with small bones.

The pho was similar to the floating market noodle soup. I didn't see any tripe, but there were beef and meatballs, serve with a spicy and sour broth. For those that had the chitlin soup last week, this soup wasn't quite as intense - not nearly as sour or salty, but definitely more spicy (but not as spicy as floating market noodle soup at Nava Thai). Again, pretty good, certainly a good substitute for those who don't want to drive to Wheaton.

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Went for lunch and it was excellent!!!

Started off with the Tum Marg Huong/Papaya Salad, which was spicy.....then came Ping Moo/Grilled Pork and Orm Chicken. Both dishes were wonderful, much more flavorful than usual Thai restaurants. They were accompanied with Stick Rice - a great meal for excellent price. I highly recommend for a cheap eat in Falls Church.

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Had out 4th meal there. After a slow start with meal #1, this has been superb. One large lunch with a lot of folk and too many dishes to remember.

Then we did the fermented pork belly and the pounded fish with the innards soup and all were great. The soup was most notable for the broth which was really dank and earthy. The pounded fish was a larb like dish in texture with the fish being seasoned, cook, dried and pounded {who knows which order}. It was addictive, especially when we ordered up more veggies to scoop it up. The fermented pork belly was very flavorful and intense, with lots of red chiles and garlic. It is usually made with shoulder or neck, but the use of belly was great.

Last night we had the mango salad {think Som Tum with a slightly sweeter and softer unripe mango filling in for the usually green papaya}, lao sausage {house made, earthy and served with peanuts, ginger slices, cilantro and a pounded chile paste that had sneaky heat} followed by a stwe of beef which was great. Filled with lots of chopped black beans, the liquid was like a light gravy with mostly onions, soft, almost melted, bits of eggplant and chewy beef. We made little balls of the sticky rice to drop in the spoon full of stew. Beer Lao accompanied. Great dinner with three beers, a 25% tip and $50. We were sent a free sticky rice dessert with taro root, beans, some sort of black grain like short wild rice and coconut milk topping.

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Ate dinner here last night. Using my knowledge from the get together, we emphasized that while we don't want to the food "Lao hot," we want the foot pretty hot. Last time when we requested it medium hot, it wasn't really hot. The waitress said "Thai hot"? That turned out to be hot enough to make me sweat buckets and yet remain very much edible. I suggest anyone who goes there to really emphasize how much heat he/she wants. We asked for the hot sauce tray just in case but didn't need to use it.

We ordered:

Sai Oua - Lao Spicy Sausage - pork sausage stuffed with lemongrass, herbs and fresh dill. Notwithstanding its name, the sausage isn't hot but nonetheless delicious.

Tum Marg Huong- Papaya Salad - julienne green papaya, tomato, lime juice in a savory Lao style spicy sauce. The sauce distinguishes this from a Vietnamese papaya salad - it was fiery hot, one of the hottest dishes of the night.

Kaing Keuang Nai - beef tripe, chitlin, & beef broth. Love this non-spicy soup. The predominant flavor is sourness but there are many components to this soup. I believe they make this soup to order, which results in this soup being one of the last dishes to arrive. While the organs were clean and tasty, they could've used more cooking time. A big vat of this simmering all day would've been even more awesome but I don't think enough people order it to justify such treatment.

Larb Seen (Beef) - we asked for it raw. Minced beef seasoned in spicy sauce, Kaffir lime leaves, rice power, shallows, garlic, green onion, cilantro, and mint. They did not bring an extra basket of lettuce, so if you want it, you must ask. This dish was also very spicy but fabulous. I'm not a fan of eating raw beef (such as kibbee nayee, beef tartare, Kitfo, etc.) but this is such a classic Lao dish everyone who wants to eat Lao should try it.

Moak Normai - steamed bamboo, pork, Lao style curry with coconut milk. Not spicy but one of my favorite dishes here.

Moak Pha - steamed fish with lemon grass and dill - not sure what kind of fish they used this time, probably tilapia. The kitchen had forgotten about this dish so it came out last and we were already full. I tried a couple of bites - found the fish a little fishy. The dish was not spicy.

Orm Chicken - Lao curry with chili paste, lemongrass, galangal, eggplant, dill, and sliced chicken breast. Unfortunately many Asian restaurants use sliced chicken breast because of American demand. The result is tough flavorless chicken. I would not order the Orm with chicken again. The dish was slightly spicy.

The place was packed on Friday evening, with many diners opting for the buffet though. Next door, at Hong Kong Palace, there were also people waiting to be seated. We washed our dinner down with Beerlao - which comes in light or dark, but both are lagers. The dark is a very smooth lager.

4 people, 3 beers each, $29 per person with tax but not tip.

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Damn the food here is good. My first experience with Bangkok Golden was through a large takeout order last weekend. Early on a Sunday night this place was only about 25 minutes from DC and was mostly empty. Easy peasy. Most of our dishes were ordered "Thai hot" following advice above, and that was just about right for us. One day I'll have to experience exactly what Lao hot tastes like but none of us were bold enough to try.

Standouts for me were the Lao pork sausage (which is not really hot as advertised but is very herbal and very good), the shrimp cakes, which unlike so many versions in Thai restaurants around here were not rubbery, but had a very tender texture, which, for me at least, allowed me to appreciate the flavor of the seafood and spices, duck and beef larb (in hindsight I would have ordered only one since the flavor profile is the same), both of which differed from standard local Thai restaurant versions by being not just spicier, but more herbal (more pronounced lemon grass and mint coming through) and including minced rather than ground meat.

The only things I don't think I would order again are the Moak - steamed fish - which wasn't that flavorful except for dill, and the crispy honey wings, though that may have just been a bad choice for take out.

I love how enthusiastic and proud they are about serving good Lao food, and I tried to convince the guy I spoke with while waiting for my order to join donrockwell.com and post about their restaurant. One thing he told me to do on future visits was to always ask about specials (that night they had an interesting sounding jackfruit curry I would have tried had I not already put my order in based on the website menu).

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I had read about a top secret Lao menu. When I asked for the Lao menu, I got the normal one. So I asked for specials - nothing. So we ordered the Lao Spicy Sausage, Koi Pah (mediurm rare fish) Thai hot, Ping Seen (grilled beef), and Mieng Viengchanh (flounder fillet - self wrapped with lettuce, steamed noodle, ginger, galangal root, tomato, fresh lemongrass and bean sprout serve with house tamarind sauce).

The sausage here is pretty good, so is the Koi Pah. Thai hot is enough to make me sweat profusely. The Ping Seen had good flavor but it's tough. The Mieng Viengchanh is interesting. If the fish was grilled at all, it was then wrapped and steamed. It came out looking like a Moak, except we also received a plate of lettuce, peanuts, steamed noodle, ginger, Thai eggplant, fresh lemongrass, and some other stuff (but not exactly the same stuff on the menu described above). The fish was mild, not fishy. The texture is tender. Throw everything into a lettuce wrap and it's pretty tasty.

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That sounds delicious. I had lunch at Thai Ghang Waan, in Springfield recently & after hearing about the special Thai menu, really wanted to try the yum Pla dook foo ( crispy catfish), but it wasn't available at lunch, so I had to settle for gai pad krapow & larb gai, both were good, but I guess if you want to sample the special dishes, you have to come out at night.

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I had read about a top secret Lao menu. When I asked for the Lao menu, I got the normal one. So I asked for specials - nothing. So we ordered the Lao Spicy Sausage, Koi Pah (mediurm rare fish) Thai hot, Ping Seen (grilled beef), and Mieng Viengchanh (flounder fillet - self wrapped with lettuce, steamed noodle, ginger, galangal root, tomato, fresh lemongrass and bean sprout serve with house tamarind sauce).

The sausage here is pretty good, so is the Koi Pah. Thai hot is enough to make me sweat profusely. The Ping Seen had good flavor but it's tough. The Mieng Viengchanh is interesting. If the fish was grilled at all, it was then wrapped and steamed. It came out looking like a Moak, except we also received a plate of lettuce, peanuts, steamed noodle, ginger, Thai eggplant, fresh lemongrass, and some other stuff (but not exactly the same stuff on the menu described above). The fish was mild, not fishy. The texture is tender. Throw everything into a lettuce wrap and it's pretty tasty.

It's not a Laotian menu so much as a Laotian section (they have a different website than the other Bangkok Goldens, and the menu is here (note the Moak, Orm, etc.)).

JC Gibbs works closely with this restaurant, and she's an awesome cook (albeit a vegan) :P - she can definitely steer you in the right direction. (JC can you chime in?)

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It's not a Laotian menu so much as a Laotian section (they have a different website than the other Bangkok Goldens, and the menu is here (note the Moak, Orm, etc.)).

That's what we always order from. There's supposed to be another top secret Lao menu according to Chowhound. I'm just not sure how to get it.

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So I asked for specials - nothing.

Strange. I've only been twice, but both times, when I asked for specials, they rattled off 4-6 things that weren't on the menu.

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Strange. I've only been twice, but both times, when I asked for specials, they rattled off 4-6 things that weren't on the menu.

They have a board out front. Maybe she meant those are all the specials....I was hoping she'd whip out the the TOP SECRET LAO MENU. She wasn't a particularly good waitress - I went over the order several times to make sure she got it right. Maybe it's not even her fault. I can't pronounce Lao dishes properly and her English wasn't very good.

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www.bangkokgolden7corners.com

6395 Seven Corners Center

Falls Church, VA 22044

Tom Sietsema did a piece on this small Thai place back in November ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/18/AR2010111805045.html ). I am happy to report that the secret menu is secret no more. When we entered the small place this afternoon, we were handed two menus, one Thai and one Laotian. I never had Laotian food before, it was like Thai, but more rustic. Like other southeast Asian cuisine, Laotians make heavy usage of fresh vegetables and herbs as evident by the numbers of salads on the menu. We ordered the Laotian sausage, orm beef, crispy rice salad, and an order of chicken satay for the kiddo. My favorite dish was the crispy rice salad, consisted of herbs (probably cilantro and lime leaves), coconut, onions, scallions, julienne pork skin, ham, peanuts, and crispy rice in a refreshing spicy lime dressing with large lettuce leaves served on the side. You are suppose to eat it like a bulgogi by wrapping the salad inside the lettuce leaves. It was a prefect balance of savory, sour, and spicy, with bites of crispy rice and peanut for textural contrast. The flavor was incredibly complex and words do not do justice in describing this dish.

I missed this thread entirely, but intrigued by the mention in the mystery restaurant thread, we went here for dinner last night. As it happens, we ordered almost exactly what ema did: the sausage, crispy rice and grilled skewered chicken. And Lao dark beer. We enjoyed all of the dishes, and our favorite was the crispy rice salad, for just the reasons above.

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Had lunch here today. Really great and the waitress was so sweet when I ordered everything "Lao Spicy".

"Are you sure?" she asked. And then she checked back on me a few times to make sure I was happy.

They had a fermented Lao sausage appetizer special, which was outstanding, served with a dipping paste of fire roasted chilis ground with lime juice and fish sauce. Really good.

A salad of bamboo shoots, cilantro, lime, chilis, etc was just fabulous. Very spicy and cooling in the same bite. Loved this.

Orm Pork - a hearty portion with a spice component that builds. The broth was delicious and this stew really hit the spot on a chilly, windy day.

Larb Pork - My favorite dish of the afternoon, very spicy and really bright flavors. I didn't ask for extra lettuce as I was more than happy to utilize my sticky rice as the delivery vehicle.

A delicious lunch, and enough leftovers for dinner too (and probably lunch tomorrow)!

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Having been to both restaurants several times, I don't understand the comparison - Little Serow is serving a seven-course tasting menu based on northern Thai cuisine, and has a fantastic beverage program with stellar service; Bangkok Golden is a typical app-entree suburban strip mall mom-n-pop, most interesting for its Laotian cuisine, and probably does a substantial carryout business. One is a play with multiple acts; the other is a nostalgic folk song.

You said all seven courses at Little Serow tasted good (which is no small feat) - and at $6.50 per course, I don't know how much more you could ask for.

Bangkok Golden isn't a "typical" strip mall restaurant. Having just eaten there last night and having eaten there many times...it makes food every bit as delicious as one of the very best restaurants in this country.

To my knowledge you can't walk into any random strip mall and get a dish as good as the Lao style Larb or Crispy rice salad. And the Thai menu, which I have been exploring lately too, is also delicious.

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Bangkok Golden isn't a "typical" strip mall restaurant. Having just eaten there last night and having eaten there many times...it makes food every bit as delicious as one of the very best restaurants in this country.

To my knowledge you can't walk into any random strip mall and get a dish as good as the Lao style Larb or Crispy rice salad. And the Thai menu, which I have been exploring lately too, is also delicious.

In *format* it most certainly is a typical strip-mall restaurant. I have Bangkok Golden in Italic in the Dining Guide, so if you're looking for a detractor, look elsewhere. That said, you won't find me comparing it to the "very best restaurants in this country," that's for sure.

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I will say this - it is my favorite place to eat Thai (and Tai Lao/Lao Isan) food in the city - by far - at least among restaurants where I'm permitted to choose my own dishes ;-) In fact, I have preferred my meals there to those I have eaten at the standard bearer of Thai/Tai Lao cuisine in the USA - Pok Pok. So I dont think it is going out too far on a limb to say it is among the country's best at these cuisines. If you accept that, I don't think Jonathan's evaluation is implausible. I am convinced that 2 Amys is one of the "very best restaurants in the country" but I suspect that evaluation would be scoffed at by the JBF. In my interview with Todd Kliman last month regarding the opening of Doi Moi, I talked about the bias faced by Asian restaurants. Here is what I said and I will throw it out to the group for discussion:

"I think in the past there has been an economic bias against regional Asian cuisine—not only in DC and but in the country as a whole. It was fine to spend $30 on a bowl of noodles and shrimp at an Italian restaurant, but an Asian restaurant should offer strip-mall pricing on a comparable dish. Yes, there were Asian “ fusion” restaurants that attempted to elude this strip-mall mentality, but without the foundation of authenticity their success was generally hard to sustain. With the recent commercial and critical success enjoyed by restaurants like the Slanted Door, Fatty Crab, Pok Pok, Little Serow, and several others, restaurants serving authentic regional Asian cuisine are starting to level the economic playing field with other mainstream ethnic cuisines. " [Continuation of discussion here]

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I had read about a top secret Lao menu. When I asked for the Lao menu, I got the normal one. So I asked for specials - nothing.

Here is Bangkok Golden's "top secret" menu:

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This week, the special they're featuring is a (warm) entree of Pickled Pork Belly.

Enjoy (and make sure to try the pork neck),

Rocks

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