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UPDATE: CURRIES ARE MADE WITH FISH SAUCE. SEE BELOW FOR A FULL LIST OF ITEMS FROM THE CHEF THAT ARE VEGETARIAN!!! As a result of our inquiry, menus will be updated to clarify.

Thai food for vegetarians in DC (and most places in the US) is pretty ho-hum. Shaw’s Thai X-ing is a clear exception, but what about when we’re not up for an 8 course meal?

I visited the new Beau Thai location in Mount Pleasant recently with some hope. Yes, the name is ridiculous – when are these puns with ‘Thai’ going to end? – but the menu is bigger than at the original Shaw restaurant and it’s nice to have another dining option in the neighborhood.

The menu has a few items marked with a (v), but it’s a bit confusing because the curries and noodles can also be made vegetarian although they’re not marked. Our server claimed that they don’t use fish sauce at all, but it’s better to specify when ordering just to make sure.

We skipped over the requisite rolls (fried and fresh) to start with eggplant salad. It was really nice and unique – melt-in-your-mouth and a bit charred like baba ghanoush, with fresh herbs, lemon, hard-boiled egg, and light-as-air crispy tofu.

Eggplant salad

Eggplant salad

Although main courses included noodle soups and a tempura bowl, I always like to try standard dishes when checking out a new Thai place. This time we had red curry and drunken noodles.

The red curry was mediocre – acceptably flavored, but with way too many chunks of fried tofu and too little of anything else. The couple of eggplant morsels were tender and delicious, but gone in a jiffy. Since eggplant seems to be a winner here, I’d skip curry next time and try the eggplant stir fry dish.

Red curry with tofu

Red curry with tofu

Drunken noodles were spot on – browned in the skillet with good flavor and set off with cherry tomatoes, red peppers, and lots of basil. The spice level was just right for me, but if you are a fire fiend then ask for more.

Drunken noodles

Drunken noodles

Emboldened by our satisfaction with the noodles, we went for mango sticky rice to end the meal. Not a good idea. The rice was barely sweetened and the only trace of coconut was in the goo spread stingily over the mango slices. What?

Mango sticky rice

Mango sticky rice

All in all, Beau Thai’s a little unreliable, with some redeeming qualities. Like most beaux I know.

3162 Mount Pleasant St NW
(202) 450-5317 or (202) 450-5346

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FROM RESTAURANT:

The following dishes are vegan by default (no fish sauce, no shrimp paste):
Appetizers
Spring Rolls
Garden Rolls
Vegetable Empanadas
Crispy Tofu
Salads
Green Salad
Grilled Vegetable Salad
Entrees
Pad King Tofu
Ka Pao Tofu
Sauteed Vegetables
Stir Fried Eggplant
Rice Dishes
Fried Rice Tofu
Pineapple Fried Rice Tofu
Noodle Dishes
Drunken Noodle Tofu
Noodle Bowls
Vegetable Noodle Bowl
Desserts
Mango Sticky Rice
The following dishes can be modified to be vegan upon request (no fish sauce, no shrimp paste, no egg, no chicken broth):
Salads and Soups
Grilled Eggplant Salad – Request no egg
Papaya Salad – Request no shrimp
Tom Kha Soup – Request no chicken
Tofu Soup – Request Vegetarian Broth
Noodle Dishes
Pad Thai Tofu – Request no egg
Pad Se Ew Tofu – Request no egg
With advance notice, we can make other items, like our curries, without fish sauce or shrimp paste.
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