Friday, May 2, 2014

I-Thai Restaurant and Sushi Bar Food Review

Drunken Noodles with Chicken

Georgetown is going through a number of changes lately... most for the better. Count I-Thai Restaurant and Sushi Bar as one of the best. Formerly home to Garrett's Restaurant and Railroad Tavern, the two-level space has undergone a startling metamorphosis... from cozy pub to upscale casual in the blink of an eye (and the snap of a heady designer's fingers.) Paired with beautiful dishes (I only had two... dozens more to go) I-Thai may already be home to the best Thai cuisine south of Cleveland Park.

I-Thai just concluded a 50% promotion on all food, in celebration of their recent opening. Had I arrived a couple of days earlier, I surely would have ordered at least two more appetizers; but settled on a Chicken Satay starter today, reasonably priced at just $7. I'm nothing if not predictable; and selected Drunken Noodles (with chicken, $14) for my entree. Rest assured, I'll be back to have a go at the Chicken Volcano or Crying Tiger.

Satay Starter

If you have time, make sure to eat upstairs... easily the nicer of two levels. I was treated to a table by a window facing M Street. Each windowsill is adorned with fresh roses... an elegant touch. As one would expect from a new restaurant, everything is Spick and Span clean; although I heard dishes break on three separate occasions (first week jitters, no doubt.) My server was super friendly with a pretty smile; and took time to chat, with each visit to my table. She also was quick with water refills... especially after I ordered my Drunken Noodles HOT (Mild is recommended; but I'm pretty stubborn when it comes to spice.) Service was close to perfect throughout my meal... enough to guarantee a return visit, even if the food wasn't up to par.

Thankfully, the food was way better than average. Four skewers of delectable chicken got me started, with a delicious (and fresh) cucumber relish. It also comes with a side of peanut sauce, but I'm not a big fan in general (keep 'em in the shell, I say.) A beautifully colored slaw completes one of the nicest looking appetizers in all of Georgetown. Remember, you eat with your eyes too.

That said, your eyes can't begin to detect the glorious inferno of heat attached to every bite of I-Thai's Drunken Noodles. Reader beware: If you can't stand the heat, don't get near this kitchen. Ask for HOT, and you're gonna get lots (and lots) of heat. Take my advice, and stick to MILD... especially if you don't eat Thai food all that often. As for me, I was in Heaven (at least the really, really hot part of it.) Sure, there were tears; but that's what ice cold water is for, right? There's loads of chicken (as much as there is pasta, in fact.) Plenty of Thai basil too, as well as bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. If you can make a good Drunken Noodles, then odds are... I'm going to like the rest of the menu as well. This wasn't good: It was absolutely wonderful. Second best in the city (with a chance to take over #1.)

Keep in mind, I-Thai carries a wide variety of menu items, including a sushi bar upstairs & a full Japanese menu too. Save room for dessert if possible (I can't wait to try Thai Coconut Custard.) Downstairs has a small bar area, and a few tables... in addition to an odd assortment of prepared dishes for display (both in the window, and as you walk inside.) I can deal with flat screen TVs in the dining room (reluctantly) but let's hope management gets rid of the samples. Otherwise, I-Thai looks set for a long and successful run along the busy M Street corridor. May the spice be with you.