Thursday, February 15, 2007

Review: Duangrats (Falls Church / Bailey's Crossroad)

Duangrats has become a popular destination for Sarah and I. We try to make it out at least once every few weeks. Although we still can’t pronounce the name of the establishment (dwayne-grats? drowned-rats?), we love the food and can’t really get enough.

Duangrat’s location might make it a bit of a secret to the inside-the-District crowd, but don’t be fooled by it’s less than impressive presence on the side of Route 7 in the Bailey’s Crossroad area. This is some of the FINEST Thai food I have consumed in DC AND NY, served by traditional kimono-clad waitresses. Zagat's has rated them some of the finest Thai in the DC area...but who cares what those hacks say...

Duangrats does everything well, but their appetizers border on crave-able. My personal favorite alone, the crispy spring rolls, are enough to make me want to abandon the concept of eating in and take a ride every night. Sarah enjoys their crab wonton soup equally as much, and orders it every time we go. The chicken satay is moist (which is a difficult task to accomplish with such thin slices of meat) and the peanut sauce has just the right amount of sweetness so you don’t feel as if you’re eating Skippy.

Duangrat’s main entrées are equally impressive. In the tradition of Thai cuisine, flavors are layered and complex. The ginger pork has the flavors of curry, Asian basil and ginger that make every bite unique. The panang beef and beef masamune are also extremely delectable and feature beef braised to the point of fork-cutting tenderness as well as wonderful Asian flavors like coconut and curry.

Desserts leave a bit to be desired, but do incorporate interesting elements and Asian flavors to bring combinations to your palate that you might not have thought of. The banana spring rolls and other desserts are hardly transcendent, but the small portions and bright, crisp flavors make them an excellent ending to a filling and tasty traditional Thai meal.

Duangrats also features a full bar with Thai beer, as well as domestic beers on tap. However, the true stars of the bar are the mixed drinks such as the outstanding Mai Tai and Bangkok Sunrise.

The only real downfall for this establishment is its service. Patrons often wait a while for tables, and then find themselves waiting even longer to place their orders and get their food.

Regardless of the bad, and sometimes disorganized, service, Duangrats is by far some of the best Thai in town. If you’re in the area, check it out…and don’t be afraid to order something other than the historically-safe pad thai. Everything here is good.

For the best experience, come during the week when the already-poor service isn’t being trampled by the weekend rush.

Address: 5878 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041
Cost: $15-$25 per person
Dress: casual
Bar: yes
Date place: yes…unless you spend more time looking at the kimono-clad waitresses than at your date

Duangrat's in Falls Church

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