If you haven’t gorged yourself on course after course of fresh Thai dishes on a Sunday at Shaw’s Thai X-ing, you’re in for a treat. Chef Taw serves up a huge set menu of soups, salads, curries, vegetables and noodles, all from his kitchen in a converted rowhouse.
Our previous visits had been delicious but also hot, sticky and cramped in the small downstairs space that was the original restaurant. On a recent Sunday we got to sit upstairs in a sunny air-conditioned dining room that, while not quite as charming – no stacks of living room books about to topple over on you – is definitely more comfortable.
We started with spring rolls that were a bit low on flavor this time but still satisfyingly crunchy. The papaya salad knocked our socks off like always though, with well-balanced lime, peanut and chili bouncing around on our taste buds. Coconut lemongrass soup was satisfying, but a little too intense. We enjoyed a few bites but couldn’t finish our bowls, which may have been a blessing in disguise given what was coming next.
Eggplant with mushrooms, red peppers and basil was nicely done, as were green beans with turmeric. However, we ended up leaving most of these for the leftover box in anticipation of the noodles and curry to come. Thankfully, we weren’t disappointed! Stir-fried wide rice noodles with tofu, broccoli and peanuts were tasty:
Up next was pumpkin curry, the highlight of our meal. Oh, pumpkin curry. Hands down one of the best vegetarian items you’ll find in DC. Big chunks of tender, earthy pumpkin are simmered in a creamy panang-like curry to create melt-in-your-mouth bites that are just a little sweet, a little spicy, and pretty much perfect.
Rounding out the meal was mango sticky rice. In the past we’ve had it with black sticky rice, which really set this dessert apart with its perfumed, almost tea-like delicate flavor. Still, no complaints for the plain old white rice version, which is sweetened just enough to let the flavors of coconut, mango and sesame seeds shine.
Things to note:
Sundays are expressly vegetarian with vegan options at a set price of $30. You can go on others days and request vegetarian when reserving but you won’t get to enjoy as many courses and may wind up paying more for less (Fridays and Saturdays are $40).
The restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol but you can BYO with no corkage fee.
Call ahead a week in advance and leave a message with your requested reservation. Our initial skepticism about a call-back was put to rest a while ago (people actually listen to answering machines?!) – you’ll hear back within a couple of days. Anupama lives nearby so she just makes her reservations in person.
515 Florida Ave. NW
Open Tuesday – Sunday for dinner