Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Neon's Blue Glare

Our plans for a 4th of July picnic got rained out, but we still wanted to eat somewhere Mall-adjacent in time to go down and see the fireworks. We wandered 7th street looking for a place that wasn't packed. After three failed attempts, D. suggested we get away from the main drag and explore the options behind the Verizon Center. We found ourselves in Kanlaya, a thai place (with the neon sign to prove it). In a hurry and very hungry, we sat down in the lacquered, but somewhat generic, dining room.

Our meal came as the best kind of surprise - the one paired with zero expectations. We decided to share all our dishes and stuck to thai ice tea, coke, and hot tea. We had no vegetarians in our party, but Kanlaya has an extensive selection of vegetarian dishes and is a good option for those so inclined. We started out with Papaya Green salad, one of the best I've had in DC - julienned papaya is dressed in lime and topped with roasted peanuts, string beans and tomato, and comes with a side of grilled shrimp. We also ordered Larb Gai, a dish made up of minced chicken in spicy lime juice. The dish lacks crunch but the mince chicken goes very well with the brightness of the lime. The Siam Dumplings were average (steamed and stuffed with a mix of pork, shrimp, crabmeat and mushroom) but the Thai soy sauce gave them an interesting spin. For entrees we stuck to classics - Pad Thai, Chicken Green Curry and a seafood dish billed "Southern Seafood" a mix of crab, squid, shrimp in a stir fry served with a spicy tamarind sauce. Everything was well prepared and brought out fast. We had no time for dessert - the menu had the usual, mango sticky rice and assorted custards.

Not really destination dining, but Kanlaya is a great option for a quick lunch or post-movie dinner in Chinatown.

Kanlaya Thai Cuisine
740 6th Street NW
Washington, DC 20050
(202) 393-0088
Kanlaya on Urbanspoon

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