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Rice & Noodles, Thai in Franconia


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Don's posting about Sakulthai on Van Dorn got me to thinking that I really should start a topic on a little Thai place which is my "go to" for Thai eat- in and (thankfully) delivery in the same area.

Rice & Noodles may or may not be authentic, but I sure do love their (very spicy) Larb Gai and Penang. The Pad Prik Ka Prow and yellow curry are good too. Thankfully I've beaten Mr. MV into submition and he doesnt' order Pad Thai every-single-time, but when he did order it at least it wasn't an overly sweet version. Oh yeah, chicen satay and Crying Tiger are great apps.

The place is on the small side with a couple tables in front. The staff is very friendly.

It's near the intersection of Van Dorn and Franconia, right next to the Burrito Joynt and across from Sam Pan Cafe.

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I don't know if this is as good as this restaurant [Thai Square] gets. If it is, it is not anywhere near as good as my experience at Nava Thai. Should I try Bangkok 54 down the street? At least they have parking.

I had dinner at Rice & Noodles last night (thanks to monavano), and it was a very good neighborhood Thai restaurant, well-worth knowing about if you're anywhere near the mixing bowl and Springfield. Interestingly, Chef Vongsawong used to own Asiana Cafe in Adams Morgan, way back in the early 1990s. Based on reading the menu, her heart seems to be in fried seafood dishes, two of which I had last night: Tamarind Talay ($14.95) had battered shrimp, scallops, and squid, stir-fried in tamarind sauce, and Pla Pad Ped ($11.95) was deep-fried fish filets in a red curry paste with rhizome, peppercorns, eggplant, lemongrass, and basil. I was politely warned that the Pla Pad Ped wouldn't carry out well (and appreciated the warning), but it was just fine.

Oh yeah, chicen satay and Crying Tiger are great apps.

It's near the intersection of Van Dorn and Franconia, right next to the Burrito Joynt and across from Sam Pan Cafe.

I agree with monavano about the Crying Tiger ($6.95), and the Pad Eggplant ($7.95 with pork) was worth ordering too. Unfortunately the Burrito Joynt didn't fare as well: It no longer exists, and the space is now serving Peruvian chicken (can't remember the name).

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I had dinner at Rice & Noodles last night (thanks to monavano), and it was a very good neighborhood Thai restaurant, well-worth knowing about if you're anywhere near the mixing bowl and Springfield. Interestingly, Chef Vongsawong used to own Asiana Cafe in Adams Morgan, way back in the early 1990s. Based on reading the menu, her heart seems to be in fried seafood dishes, two of which I had last night: Tamarind Talay ($14.95) had battered shrimp, scallops, and squid, stir-fried in tamarind sauce, and Pla Pad Ped ($11.95) was deep-fried fish filets in a red curry paste with rhizome, peppercorns, eggplant, lemongrass, and basil. I was politely warned that the Pla Pad Ped wouldn't carry out well (and appreciated the warning), but it was just fine.

I agree with monavano about the Crying Tiger ($6.95), and the Pad Eggplant ($7.95 with pork) was worth ordering too. Unfortunately the Burrito Joynt didn't fare as well: It no longer exists, and the space is now serving Peruvian chicken (can't remember the name).

Cheers,

Rocks.

Well Don, we were eating together in spirit-off and on electrical power yesterday (then loss of half my power today), had Mr. MV and I picking up our dinner last night from Rice and Noodle. We tend to order as to have leftovers the next day (thankfully, given the circumstances)-Tom Yum with shrimp, Asian Rolls, Larb Gai, Penang with Chicken, and Drunken Noodle with Beef.

Today, as a broken power line was getting fixed in a 3 -foot deep, newly-dug hole in my finally-green grass, I consoled myself with leftover Penang (reheated in a steamer which was plugged into a working outlet by an extension cord!), which gets spicier the next day.

As they say, I'm plugged in now, and am so pleased that my recommendation was a worthy one. The folks at this little eat-in/take-out Thai are always very nice.

BTW...the only good thing about The Burrito Joynt is that it led me to Rice & Noodle. That place was a one-and-done!

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Their grilled chicken was pretty good and came with a sweet chili sauce and a smoky tamarind sauce. I didn't care for their shrimp panang. An order only had 6 medium sized shrimps in a sauce that resembled Maesri brand curry paste. Nothing wrong with Maesri brand curry sauce, but I can easily make it at home for a fraction of the cost. The drunken noodle was well seasoned and not clumpy. The portion size was smaller than other Thai places since they place the noodles on a bed of cabbage for volume.

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OK, I'll have to put it on my go-to list. That sucks, in a way, because across the street is Sampan and Mediterranean Gourmet Market, two of may absolute faves....! I wonder if a progressive meal of mezze, followed by pad kee mau (drunken noodles), followed by black pepper beef, would be a bit too much...?

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I finally got around to trying Rice and Noodles today, and I'll have to go back for a deeper dive into the menu.

First observation -- the place next door that used to be the Burrito Joynt is now El Rico Peru, a Peruvian restaurant that has the signature Peruvian chicken, but also has what appears to be a wide Peruvian menu. At lunch, I noticed an enticing buffet with an appetizing variety of dishes. I'll give it a try in the future.

Back to Rice and Noodles, which is a simply but nicely decorated and smallish restaurant with about two dozen seats inside. There are a few tables outside, but the view is of Franconia Road. I ordered my baseline comparison dish, pad kee mao, or drunken noodles. It's the dish I use to compare Thai restaurants, not necessarily because of its authenticity, but because the harmony of flavors and textures help me discern if the kitchen has its act together and is capable of reaching for greater heights. I ordered the extra noodles for $1.00 more, and requested a combination of chicken, beef and pork. The noodles were a little on the heavy side, but the meat was cooked to perfection, and the flecks of heat balanced nicely with the kick of Thai basil. It was a very good but not necessarily great dish, but made me wonder what the rest of the menu has in store for me at another visit. My companion had the chicken and cashews, and declared it too sweet, as if he was eating candy. He mentioned that the same dish at Pasara Thai in Kingstowne was much better, where the sauce is, in his opinion, spot on. At another table I noticed the Paradise Shrimp, which was an ample composition of shrimp arrayed tails-up over a mound of rice, appearing like a 'crown rack of shrimp' and the presentation was very appealing. Must try next time...!

My first impression of Rice and Noodles was positive enough to merit a return visit. It wouldn't cause me to go out of my way to avoid Tommy Thai in Springfield or Panisa Thai in Burke, and the twin distractions of Mediterranean Gourmet Market and Sampan Cafe across the street always beckon. But I owe Rice and Noodles a few opportunities to wow me with its kitchen's strengths before I reach a decision about whether or not to include it in my Thai rotation. Not that it matters to anyone but me, but my rotation is House of Siam and Tommy Thai in Springfield (my local haunts), Panisa Thai in Burke, Thai Basil in Chantilly and Sakoontra in Fairfax/Fair Oaks.

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About a week ago, a table of four of us enjoyed some lovely Saturday afternoon lunch menu items in the spare dining room that was about one-third occupied. All meals were very good, with fresh ingredients and lively flavors. This place is edging out House of Siam in Springfield in my immediate rotation, mostly because House of Siam has meager portions.

My particular favorite was the soft shell crabs -- two crabs lightly fried, then stir-fried in a lively garlic-basil sauce. The presentation and the flavor was quite nice, and the price tag of about $15 was not bad either.

post-3563-127414301828_thumb.jpg

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Rice and Noodles via UberEats was our Friday night dinner hook-up, and it was more than good enough. High quality Thai in our delivery area is sparse, but with Thai Ghang Waan in Springfield and Rice and Noodles on Franconia, the options are above average.

Soft shell crabs with penang curry was the hit for me, larb gai and ginger fish was my wife's favorite, and the Rice and Noodles appetizer sampler, the egg fried rice, and "Crying Tiger" (marinated flank steak with tamarind sauce) gave us enough leftovers for lunch today.

Soft shell crabs don't typically travel well, but this order made it in good enough shape to be enjoyed about a half hour after it left the kitchen.

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