If you've never been to Bangkok, you can still get that night market feeling at Thai Chef Street Food in D.C.
As soon as you step inside, you're transported overseas by the colorful decor and playful menu. They've developed their own signature cocktails to go with their Thai street food favorites.
Owner Chalisa Fitts chatted with us while she expertly prepared our cocktails.
"Our decor is designed to look like a Thai night market. We did a lot of research when we opened our restaurants and realized that this is what was missing in local Thai restaurants," she explained. "Our designer is from New York, and he is Thai too. All of our ideas went into the colors and what you see here."
Here is what we sampled:
Moo Ping and Som Tum
Grilled pork and green papaya salad is a classic Thai combination. The pork was tender, juicy, and perfectly grilled. Their award-winning papaya salad is everything it should be: crisp and flavorful with bright lime juice and a touch of sweetness.
Poh Tak Seafood
A beautiful mixture of seafood included large scallops, shrimp, and mussels in a rich, spicy red chili and basil sauce. This is a great option for people who like their dinner on the fiery side. Don't worry though, you can control the level of spiciness.
Khao Mun Gai
This classic chicken and rice dish comes with a side of zesty ginger soy dipping sauce. It's a homey dish based on boiled chicken which is used to make the rice and accompanying clear soup.
Mango and Sticky Rice
You can't have Thai food without a sweet ending. This version of the classic mango and sticky rice is beautifully plated and surrounded by crisped mung beans for a fun crunch. Delicious!
Crazy Thai Lady is Chalisa's take on a margarita. Tequila is infused with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, and it's rimmed with salt and chili powder. "It's named Crazy Thai Lady because that's what my dad calls my mom," she explained with a laugh.
Fishing on Mekhong is a potent mix of Thai tea, Thai whiskey, and coconut rum. Don't be fooled by its mellow appearance; this one will sneak up on you!
Who would like this restaurant?
Thai Chef Street Food would be a great restaurant for just about anyone. Their $5 Happy Hour menu is quite a bargain for a D.C. night out. Kids will love their bubble waffle ice cream cones, and there's something for everyone on their extensive menu.
For more information or to view their menus, visit the Thai Chef Street Food website. You can always check their Facebook page for announcements and special events, including their Thai New Year Brunch and Night Market later this month.
**All photos in this article are by Tony or Sarina Petrocelly.
Have you been to Thai Chef Street Food? What are some of your favorite dishes? Let us know in the comments.