Tuesday, May 4, 2010


How untrendy is Bua, you ask? If the 80s style neon doesn't tip you off, the older-than-a-decade framed reviews festooning the entrance will. But we must give Bua its due - it was one of DC's first contemporary Thai restaurants, and the food is consistently good if not fantastic. My favorite thing about this restaurant is its outdoor seating: while the street view to a parking lot isn't necessarily inspired, the second floor deck lacks in mood lightning, but usually has a pleasant breeze co-mingled with purple basis and grilled meats from the Middle Eastern place next door.

The dishes are Bua feel homey (or "classic" to use their copy). The flatware is as generic as it can be, and dishes come adorned with carrot rosettes which, old school as they are, look as they were put there with incredible care, and this always manages to charm me. Maria and I decided to beat the heat and unwind from a long day at our respective offices. We shared two appetizers: crispy Spring rolls and the Bua Crunch Baskets. The Spring rolls were standard fare, but they were served piping hot and came with a very good fish oil sauce with just the right balance of acid and heat. The crunchy baskets, pictured, were an interesting take on what probably were wonton noodles shaped and fried (I can't wait to copy them) filled with mixed stir-fried ground ship and chicken (with the consistency of larb gai, minus the lime). It's a smart appetizer, substantive without being overly filling.

For our main dishes, Maria went with drunken noodle - her staple entree when trying a new place out. When she asked for no green peppers and extra onions, the kitchen sent a question back, inquiring if she was sure about the onions as they do not put them in their drunken noodles (and according to Maria, it is one of the few places in DC that doesn't) and it really changes the flavor. The fact that they even bothered to ask speaks very well of the back of the house at Bua. Maria asked for her dish to be hot ("Normal hot, I am asking for heat as they would make it, not issuing a challenge!") As for me, I was craving both curry and noodles, and was fretting over the choice until, lo and behold, saw a dish named Kao Soi. I had never tried this dish before, but it is made up of egg noodles with chicken in red curry sauce. The sauce itself reminded me of Laksa, and it came topped with red onion and scallion, which gave it a fresher taste and balanced out the smoke. Though the description mentioned pickled cabbage, I did not see it, or taste it. Maybe it was replaced by the crispy wonton strips. Overall, it is a great dish, and one that I have not seen, or at least noticed, at other Thai places in DC.

While Bua does offer desserts, it is around the corner from Mr. Yogato. We finished the meal with chocolate hazelnut yogurt (as a swirl with tangy classic for me, and topped with oreos and strawberries for Maria) and deemed the evening a Tuesday success.

Bua on Urbanspoon
Bua Thai Restaurant
1635 P Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20036-1403
(202) 265-0828


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