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Oct 9, 2007 12:01 PM

Thai Square

Thru a series of driving mishaps, I found myself in the area of That Square and very hungry so I decided to try it out. Glad I did.

Nam Sod: a little light on the advertised prok rind but good smoky flavors of ground or hand chopped pork, great veggie components (except for out of season tomatoes in the height of tomato season, loads of ginger shreds for a perfect zing in a sneaky hot sauce. THe fire built to a nicely hot zing rather than a test of fire eating ability. Also had a Som Tum that was very nice indeed. The dried shrimp were just perfect, not too dry, not to rehydrated, perfectly chewy, and musty and spicy. WOW! Te two sauces looked identical but were quite different. The only disappointment was the rice which was bland and a little hard. But what food. I saw a lot on the menu that I want to go back and try.

Service was sweet and caring. Price was cheap. Glad to have finally tried it.

Living near Ruan Thai in Wheaton and having lived near both of LA's Thai Towns (Hollywood & East SFV, Thai Square would stand up to any hole in the wall I used to frequent. Ruan Thai has more complexity but less punch so I would give the nod to Thai Square by a sliver (of ginger!). Unfortunately its way far for frequent visits.

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  1. My circle of friends and I make regular visits to most of the better Thai restaurants (alot of us being Thai or half-Thai, it's only natural) and Thai square really is one of the better Thai food places - boo on the crummy parking situation though. Definitely try the Pla Duk Foo there.

    Also, being from Takoma Park, MD - I also have plenty of occasion to swing by the Wheaton area - so Ruan Thai and the little hole in the wall, Nava Thai (behind Hung Phat grocery store) get visited often. Suporn's a few blocks away is also pretty good, though Dusit I would rate as average.

    3 Replies
    1. re: chew

      We tried Nava and were not blown away, but we just had 2 dishes. What are your recommendations? Suporn's used to be a regular stop, but we had a abd service experience and haven't been back in a long while. Ruan Thai is qute a treat to have so close to home, but is closes too early for us to enjoy it as much as we would like given how often we are coming home late.

      1. re: deangold

        When I'm at Nava I usually get the crispy duck in red chili sauce or the fish filet in red chili sauce (I think 28 or 30 on the old menu, not sure if its been changed yet).

        Sorry for the bad run at Suporn's. I find that the smaller Thai places are alot easier to deal with sometimes if you have some native Thai speakers with you (opposite to the larger restaurants where the more non-Thai you are the better).

        And an off hand observation - most of the "good" thai places seem to have bad parking. Coincidence? :-)

        1. re: chew

          Actually just stopped by Nava tonight - 27 & 28 are my regulars :-)

    2. i've eaten som tum many places, but have not been able to see (and chew on) the dried shrimp! my recipe calls for pounding them. anyhow, years ago, i had pad thai at thai square, and it has not been matched since!

      9 Replies
      1. re: alkapal

        Went again for lunch today. Again had the Som Tum. There is pounded dried shrimp in the mix but very tiny whole dried shrimp too. Give it a flavor and textural punch. Also had bean curd sheet stuffed with meat & deep fried which my wife loved and I found to be quite good. Last app was squid salad. This was unreal. The squid was as tender as can be, sweet, tangy dressing and very nicely hot without overpowering the squid. Really amazing. The last dish was Pad Thai which only suffered from the fact that we ate the best Pad Thai we have ever had a Ruan Thai. This one was a little simpler which would ahve been great if there were 4 or 6 of us sharing it. All in all another GREAT meal and $54 with 2 beers and a Thai Iced Coffee (incredible as well), tip included. We need to get together a group so we can delve deep into the menu!

        1. re: deangold

          good idea, deangold. i've been tempted by that mussels in steaming thai broth. i love kee mao with the fresh rice noodles. oooohh, i crave it!

          when squid is really super fresh, ain't nothing better at thai. if not, it is terrible.

          1. re: alkapal

            For you Kee Mao fans, I have tried it with the "Sen Mee" AKA Vermicelli instead of the "Sen Yai" and it was awesome.

            I usually steer clear of Kee Mao since the big wide noodles it normally comes with can get so greasy at some places but when one of my coworkers ordered it with Sen Mee (why didn't I ever think of that?) and I had a chance to try it, it was even better.

            But keep in mind some cooks won't cook it this way - for whatever reason.

            1. re: chew

              chew, its the noodles i love especially. my law partner and I used to go to a place near Dupont Circle called Pan Asian Noodle House (oh, I miss it so!), and we would order See Yu (sp?) noodles with "no oil"/well-done (they knew what we liked). The wok was seasoned enough (and they really reduced the amount of oil they used), and the noodles would get a nice smoky caramelized char on edges. OH SO GOOD.

              Gin Na Rhee in Arlington has good, non-greasy kee mao. it is a nice Thai on Harrison. Not as adventuresome or wide-ranging in dish selection as Thai Square, but quite good in quality (and quantity). Really fresh seafood and som tum, too!

              1. re: alkapal

                Ghin Na Rhee. It has finally just re-opened after renovation/repairs following a crash into its outside (adjacent to kitchen) wall by a big truck!

                1. re: alkapal

                  The yum nua (spicy beef salad) and the shrimp wrapped in wonton skins are great at Ghin Na Ree, both high-quality and inexpensive. Appetizers sized as main dishes. Glad to hear they're back in business.

                  1. re: Steve

                    I haven't had the beef salad, but will get it next time. I think the resto is a real gem -- and easy peasy to park (even if it is under Harris Teeter, which is for the entire shopping center, btw.)

                    1. re: alkapal

                      After reading your opinions on Ghin Na Ree, I asked my girlfriend if she had ever heard of it. Turns out her landlord is the owner. Talk about a coincidence!

                      Now I will have to go check it out for sure.

                2. re: alkapal

                  See Eew - yep thats good too. You just described the exact same way I like it too! Too bad Pan Asian isn't still there for me to go try out :-)