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Thai Pavillion, Rockville and National Harbor - Owner Thomas Ukrit's Design-Based Behemoths


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After reading about DanielK's experience in another thread, I kinda put this place out of mind. But I met a friend here for lunch today, and was impressed with the food. Okay, I only sampled three dishes - carrot salad (with ginger, peanuts, lime dressing), wide rice noodles with tofu, and chicken in yellow curry - but they were all really good. The tofu came out nicely spicy but not too hot, as promised, and the curry had a richness and depth of flavor that was intriguing. Also had a drink consisting of lemon and lime juices, ginger syrup, lemongrass, hot chili, and I don't know what else, but it was only mildly hot and very refreshing. Really wish I'd had room for the coconut pudding or mango with sticky rice. Think I'll have to go again. Soon.

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Went to Thai Pavillion at National Harbor for a birthday brunch last weekend. I'm in no hurry to return.

Pretty ambiance. Tucked away on a side street, but the food was really mediocre and the service was spotty. Calamari was underdone and tasted flour-y. Tom Ka soup has stealth spice (it creeps up on you, in the back of the throat!) and they still loaded it up with cilantro even though I asked to omit it. The duck version I got was different but blah - chewy dry slices of meat. Other plates around me looked generous and generally well received but the second server/"assistant manager" was a real piece of work - when the birthday girl asked for the complimentary ice cream as previously agreed upon when she made arrangements with the manager, she was pretty flatly denied and we were pretty much ignored after that. The place wasn't busy and we were surprised at the lack of service. If you do end up here, get one of the noodle dishes - the wide flat noodles looked good. and portions were big enough for leftovers. I don't go to Thai places for sushi so I couldn't comment on that.

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We live close to Rockville Town Center, but normally end up having Thai at Nava or Ruan in Wheaton. We were crunched for time last week and so tried Thai Pavilion for the first time. The service was friendly, but the food was really uninteresting. Larb Gai was underseasoned and generally flat in flavor--the Nava Thai version can be brilliant, and this definitely didn't live up to that standard. The shrimp 'wontons' were similarly boring. Finally, we tried a fried rice which looked interesting on the menu (coconut cream, basil, etc.) but it seemed like it was essentially steamed rice with boiled vegetables added. We didn't finish any of our dishes, and plan to stay away in the future. Pity, too--it is a nice (huge) space, but the food just doesn't work.

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