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T.H.A.I., Shirlington


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Shirlington THAI's lunch menu's ares good. I am addicted to their Tom yum gai sum...without noodles and LOTS of bean sprouts wih condiments (green chilis in vinegar..HOT HOT HOT)..although not exactly the noodle soups I used to have in Thailand but good enough or more like cheaper than an airplane ticket to get me there! :lol:

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When we lived in the Park Fairfax Mrs JPW and I were were frequent diners at THAI. It remains one of my favorite Thai places in the metro area. The cooking is top notch. I actaully like the fact that most of the dishes are not exactly "authentic" or "traditional", but show the thought that the chef puts into working on variations from the traditional.

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I actaully like the fact that most of the dishes are not exactly "authentic" or "traditional", but show the thought that the chef puts into working on variations from the traditional.

Mmmmm, like the grilled lamb chops on their fall/winter menu. It's been a while but they were grilled and then simmered in some sort of delectable sauce. I also loved their salmon roll, which was a deep fried salmon sushi roll but with a huge piece of salmon.

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When I lived in Shirlington many moons ago, I enjoyed their carryout as well. There was a typo on the takeout menu at the time for their thin cigar shaped egg rolls-- "crippy rolls". I always got them, just because I enjoyed saying "crippy" instead of "crispy".

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Grover and I and some friends ate here last night. The food is reasonably priced but the spicing is more American than Thai.

Grover and one of our neighbors had the crispy whole fish. A nicely prepared grouper which the server deboned at the table. He was going to remove the bare bones but I stopped him before he could do so...how would I get those great grouper cheeks?

I had the Seafood Prik King. It was a combination of shrimp, squid, scallops and mussels cooked in a coconut milk base. It was tasty and the seafood was consistently tender. However, it was definitely not the 3 chilis that were on the menu. It was barely 1 chili hot.

For dessert, I had the ginger infused bread pudding which was very good and disappeared pretty quickly (Grover has a fast spoon) and Grover had flambe'd bananas.

Service was a bit slow at the start and our server took the drink order and appetizer order and then returned later to take our Entree order. Strange, but it did work.

Overall, a pleasant but not necessarily memorable experience. For a weeknight when we were craving a bit more upscale Thai, we'd return.

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Overall, a pleasant but not necessairly memorable experience. For a weeknight when we were craving a bit more upscale Thai, we'd return.

Pleasant but not memorable is about how I'd sum up my experience there. We've been once, which seems odd considering we go to Shirlington fairly often and thought T.H.A.I. Shirlington was decent. I guess usually when we're in the area it's to go to Carlyle or Cap City Brewery or possibly Aladdin for lunch. It's probably been a year since we were there and I don't remember what I had other than I thought it was quite tasty, my girlfriend thought it was ok, and we both thought the sauces were too creamy.

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Pleasant but not memorable is about how I'd sum up my experience there. We've been once, which seems odd considering we go to Shirlington fairly often and thought T.H.A.I. Shirlington was decent. I guess usually when we're in the area it's to go to Carlyle or Cap City Brewery or possibly Aladdin for lunch. It's probably been a year since we were there and I don't remember what I had other than I thought it was quite tasty, my girlfriend thought it was ok, and we both thought the sauces were too creamy.

This place is usually pretty consistent, although I have not been in many months. They are a little heavy handed with the coconut milk in their dishes, but the green curry has been pretty spicy in the past. Have there been any changes in the kitchen?

However, I do think it is a much better option than Carlyle or Cap City.

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This place is usually pretty consistent, although I have not been in many months. They are a little heavy handed with the coconut milk in their dishes, but the green curry has been pretty spicy in the past. Have there been any changes in the kitchen?
This was our first experience so I really don't know but I was somewhat disappointed with the lack of heat in the food (and I specified that I wanted spicy). The food was good but as I said before, there was nothing memorable. No one dish made me want to go "WOW!", more of a "huh, that's interesting".
However, I do think it is a much better option than Carlyle or Cap City.
I've never been to Cap City so I can't speak for their food, but the last time I went to the Carlyle, it was the the Carlyle Grand and was suffering delusions of grandeur. I haven't been since it was redone.
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This was our first experience so I really don't know but I was somewhat disappointed with the lack of heat in the food (and I specified that I wanted spicy). The food was good but as I said before, there was nothing memorable. No one dish made me want to go "WOW!", more of a "huh, that's interesting".

I don't think of T.H.A.I. as a WOW type of place, just a spot to get some decent Thai food. On a slight tangent, does every restaurant have to produce a WOW? What is wrong with a decent, if not spicy enough, meal? I think we (myself included) expect a bit much from places at times. I recently had dinner at Dish. Did it WOW me? No, but I enjoyed it enough that I would return. I guess I should make some sort of post in that thread, if it exists...

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I certainly don't need to be wowed at every meal, as over time my taste buds would tend to get a bit wowed out (and it would only depress me further when I do cook and don't get the wow...), but if a meal isn't a wow I do like for it to be priced appropriately, which isn't to say I don't think T.H.A.I. isn't as I certainly don't remember it being all that spicy.

The coconut milk is indeed what I was thinking of that made the sauces too creamy.

I'm not saying Cap city is wonderful, but we do like the pretzels they give you and they have some decent beer and it's a relaxed, laid back kind of place. I definitely don't go because I think they have great food, it's about the pretzels and the beer.

I think T.H.A.I. fits in pretty well with the whole "feel" of Shirlington. I'm not quite certain how to describe it other than "neighboorhoody", which includes outside seating. For the most part I think all of the restaurants in Shirlington manage to fit in, with the possible exception of Extra Virgin, which seems to be trying too trendy or something. Haven't been into Extra Virgin since our first visit about a month after it opened and really have no intention on going back. Really wanted it to work as a restaurant, but I think it went for more of the trendy wine bar motif instead of the laid back wine bar motif that I think would have fit into the feel at Shirlington.

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I certainly don't need to be wowed at every meal, as over time my taste buds would tend to get a bit wowed out (and it would only depress me further when I do cook and don't get the wow...)
Let me see if I can give some context to the WOW factor here. If all your life you eat baloney sandwiches on white bread and one day someone puts Grey Poupon on that white bread, that would constitute a WOW! If a dish stands out from the surrounding dishes and is more interesting or tasty or better presented or has a great aroma or anything to make it different (and better than what's around it), it gets at least one Wow! If it's so outstanding, finest in class, the bestest ever, that might constitute a WOW, WOW, WOW! and those are few and far between....make sense? :unsure:
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I get where you're coming from with the wow factor, but even still I don't know that I need it every meal. I've eaten at Chicken Out (which is unfortunate as we're close to a Peruvian chicken place that's pretty good in Alexandria but my GF thinks it's a bit sketchy, which it is, and it doesn't have the side items she likes such as Mac & Cheese) and Panera more times that I can count because they're convenient. At this point I doubt there's anything on either menu that could wow me as I've had the entire menu a number of times. But I still go back because the food is decent and not horribly priced. No wow, doubt there ever was for either place, but suitably done, quick, and easy.

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My dining at T.H.A.I. Shirlington is mainly limited to lunch time, usually with the work crowd. Like the first poster in this thread, I really like the Tom Yum Gai Sub from the "Big Bowl" lunch menu. As for spiciness, I just ask for the condiment tray and spice it up to my taste (sometimes overly so :unsure: ) with those vinegar peppers and spicy fish sauce. It's a great big bowl of what amounts to Thai style chicken noodle soup - ground chicken, sprouts, a couple of fried wontons, and lots of noodles in a lemongrass broth. It's one of several choices on the $5.95 lunch menu. Most, if not all, of the items I've tried from that list have been decent, filling, and served quite promptly. My experience has been that the (mostly) young servers are always very efficient, professional, and attentive. They even do a very good job of packing this dish up to go - keeping the noodles and other items packaged separately from the broth - it's the little things...

IMHO it's one of the better choices in Shirlington. (Aladdin's is another)

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We had dinner at T.H.A.I last night. No starters but my vodka martini had way too much vermouth. Fiance had the Penang something (chicken curry) and I had the Wild Chicken. Folks, this was not good Thai food. Mine (a three chili rating) was mildly spicy although the sauce appeared to be a ferocious red. It didn't have any strong, Thai flavors either, kinda like Thai for midwesterners or something.

My fiance's dish was terrible. It tasted like peanut butter/coconut milk chicken.

Dessert was a bananas foster adaptation. The dish is flamed tableside. The coconut ice cream was very icy and weak in flavor. The bananas had little of the advertised ginger spice.

Service was nice. The place was busy.

Bottom line; there are far better options out there.

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Is it still Chef Aulie? Because there's a Chef Aulie at Bangkok Joe's, and their pictures on the web sites look similar.

ETA: It is the same person - seems both bios state that the person came from a family of seven.

It really did seem unlikely that there would be two Aulie Bunyarataphans.

So, is this person in charge of both restaurants? Are the restaurants related one to the other?

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Had lunch with the hubby here yesterday. Got the Pad Wonsen. I like the noodles and bean sprouts and the chicken, but the sauce was just a little too sweet it left me a little ugg feeling in the tummy on a warm day. Seemed to have potential though, will order differently next time. I like that the lunch special has a good size spring roll cut in two that you can get for $1.25 extra.

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