Travel for food. Eating one’s way through the world. It’s a fine way to live. We were in Washington, D.C., last week for a few days and heard some great things about Little Serow, a Thai place on L Street. The chef, Johnny Monis, had just been named best chef for the mid-Atlantic region by the James Beard Foundation, and when we arrived at the restaurant around 4:15 in the afternoon there were about 10 people waiting on line (Little Serow does not take reservations). We had cabbed it over from downtown and the driver gave us an umbrella, because the skies had suddenly darkened and the wind-driven rain would have drenched us without one. Angela had a meeting scheduled at 6:00 with some important people, so she jumped in another cab and left me in line as the sun drove away the clouds and rain. I secured two spots at the late seating, which turned out to be early, 8:15.
Food at Little Serow: In a word, excellent. Atmosphere and design: low-ceilinged basement, blue-painted brick walls, long communal bar, a few tables against one wall, kitchen in the rear, partially in view.
Menu is fixed, five or six courses, changes often. A value at $45. Below is what we had:
nam prik num
finger chilies / shallot / bla rah
tom kha gapi
shrimp / ramps / galangal
soop naw mai
bamboo shoots / snakehead fish / rice powder
gai laap chiang mai
chicken liver / sawtooth / long pepper
naem khao tod
crispy rice / sour pork / peanuts
gai lan bla kem
greens / salted fish / egg
si krong muu
pork ribs / mekhong whiskey / dill
Will you be in D.C. anytime soon? If so, take yourself to L Street and stand in line. And make sure to ask for some Imbue bittersweet vermouth. And have the ribs. And linger and look at each plate and talk to the staff. They are good. The ribs will move you. And Angela loved the chicken liver.