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Feb 1, 2012 06:46 AM

Eola vs. Everyone else

I’m looking for a nice dinner in the DC area without any real location restrictions. I currently have a reservation at Eola, but mainly because Restaurant Eve, CityZen, Komi, Obelisk and Palena and the like are all booked up. I’m really hoping for a unique food experience, or something that isn’t being done elsewhere in the city. Am I on the right track with Eola, or are there other places I am missing? Thanks!

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  1. From what I've heard, that's a great choice. I'd just throw out there Little Serow because it's still Johnny Munis's food, it's new, it's exciting, and it doesn't even take reservations. Just get there early.

    6 Replies
    1. re: katecm

      Little Serow is definitely very high on my list, but maybe for another time. I'm not sure if I want to be the guy without a reservation when we're out celebrating V-day...sound like a one way ticket to the doghouse!

      Have you had the Lao menu at Bangkok Golden? If so, which did y ou prefer?

      1. re: gregb

        If you are one person, then Little Serow makes some sense becuase you can experience 7 different tastes for $45. But two people would have to spend $90 for the same seven tastes. For me, that takes it completely off the table.

        The experience at Bangkok Golden is much better: the depth of the menu, the outrageous flavors, the selection, the craftsmanship of the kitchen, and ultimately a better understanding of what makes this cuisine so special. At Little Serow, the parsimonious serving of raw ingredients, such an important part of Lao cuisine, is just sad.

        If you go to BG, you have an enviable selection as well as the possibility of ordering items off-menu. If you wan to know what I mean, just ask for som pa, served raw, at Bangkok Golden.

        1. re: Steve

          Steve: Aren't there multiple BG locations? Does it matter which one?

          1. re: Pappy

            Yes it matters. Only the Bangkok Golden in Seven Corners (Where Arlington and Falls Church City meet) has the Lao menu:


          2. re: Steve

            Are their off-menu items similar to Hong Kong Palace where they're hand written on the wall in a different language? Or do you just have to know to ask?

            Part of the reason Little Serow appeals to me, as someone who isn't familiar with the Thai cuisine (outside of watered down Americanized versions of non-traditional dishes), is not having to make any decisions and thus eliminating the 6 page menu intimidation factor. As I became more and more familiar with that type of cooking, I feel like BG would be more attractive.

            1. re: gregb

              It is Lao cuisine, the same cuisine and ethnicity found in NE (Issan)Thailand.

              Ordering off-menu is not posted on the wall. It is simply asking them about other dishes, but the first time I went I had a long list of dishes I was interested in trying. Many v. good ones, but the som pa is outstanding. It is possible to order it raw or cooked, both are very good, but the raw is sensational.

              The Lao menu is not very long (see link in my post above). Three basic dishes - non of these are spicy - are the kao piak sen (chicken noodle soup), the nam kao (rice ball salad) and the rice paste wrap. Many of the salad dishes - especially with raw fish, are spicy. Even then, they are not quite like some of the other dishes the chef has made for me that she makes for herself.

              If you go, you can always drop my name. They'll take good care of you, especially if you speak with the chef.

      2. I haven't been to Eola but in the same price range and level of cooking I would also suggest The Source. I had an amazing meal there in October---quite possibly one of the best meals I've ever had in DC.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Elyssa

          Very interesting, thanks for the rec!

          Did you order a la carte or did you have the tasting menu?

          1. re: gregb

            Oh, didn't realize this was a Valentine's dinner! The Source is wonderful. Just wonderful. Very different feels, and different foods. Sleek versus rustic.

            1. re: gregb

              We ordered a la carte. I had an Indian spiced short rib dish which was very good but the real winner of the night was my boyfriends lobster and my Mom's duck (amazing!). We also got a bunch of apps including a few delicious dumplings and the must try tuna cone thingy. The wine service was very good and professional. And for dessert we had the carrot cake.

              Overall it was just a stellar dinner.

              1. re: Elyssa

                Thanks guys...I made a res at the Source, now I just need to figure out which direction to go as they are 2 very different restaurants. The pasta course and ability to try 8 or 9 different things at Eola between two people may be swaying me though. That being said, The Source probably has more of an occasion-type atmosphere.

                That carrot cake sounds fantastic!

          2. Eola can certainly deliver the "unique food experience" you are looking for. Read the previous threads that are automatically listed under this one.

            It isn't the prettiest place in DC. If you want something a little nicer, try Adour, Cordoroy or even Equinox.