food&wine RESTAURANT SCOUT

Duangrat's

5878 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041
703-820-5775
www.duangrats.com

CUISINE Thai

PRICE $$ ($13-$20)

HOURS Open for lunch and dinner daily.

DELIVERY No

TAKEOUT Yes

NVM AWARDS Best Bargain Restaurant 2007
Best Restaurant 2008
Best Restaurant 2009
Best Restaurant 2010
Best Restaurant 2011

NEARBY METRO None

SPECIAL FEATURES

Lunch
Brunch
Dinner
Reservations
Takeout
Accepts Credit Cards



Write a Review

NVM Review

(November 2010)

By Warren Rojas

As much as I hate to leave Duangrat’s, I do look forward to strolling out the door for one, simple reason: the old school, candy-covered mints at the hostess stand.

A forgotten treat from a restaurant intimately aware that little extras breed loyal customers.

The family-run business continues to attract native Thai and curious Westerners alike thanks to a regiment of familiar favorites (long live crab-stuffed wings!) and seasonal tweaks. The addition of nearly three dozen, bite-sized treasures rewards more adventurous palates quite handsomely.

Steak and shrimp skewers draw heat from green curry (leads with sweet, but slowly looses creeper heat).

Pork-filled lychees are savory-sweet nibbles of lush tropicality.

Five-spiced fowl, its tender, rosy-colored flesh peeking out from a sheath of barely crispy skin shellacked in tamarind barbecue sauce (which also colors the surrounding sauteed vegetables and golden raisins), gets crowned in generously buttered crab meat.

(April 2010)

By Warren Rojas

The mix-and-match flavors of traditional Thai cooking lend themselves to experimentation. And Duangrat’s invites guests along for the ride with their ever-evolving small plates selections (31 dishes; available from 5-6:30 p.m. weekdays). Innovations range from the curious (deep-fried tofu and tamarind sauce take deviled eggs in wild new directions) to common sense (black-peppered shrimp and lobster rolls come full circle with sweet-and-sour sauce).

(November 2009)

By Warren Rojas

Food: 7.1 Ambiance: 7.2 Service: 6.9

A value dining champion for several decades, Duangrat’s has upped the ante on affordability by rolling out smile-inducing “recession-busters” designed to keep delicious Thai within striking distance of anyone’s budget.

This longstanding favorite—the dining room continues to host extended Asian families, dim sum-seeking Westerners and spice-loving couples of all ethnicities on a regular basis—has tweaked its menu in relation to the current economic climate, instituting $10 specials (salad, vegetable spring roll and your choice of select entrees) during lunch and early-bird dinner (from 4:30-6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday) that have no doubt helped devoted customers forget about their financial worries for even just a spell.

A parting shot of fish sauce gives crackling wontons—stuffed with shrimp, winding mushrooms and a thin veil of ham—a tangy edge.

Deep-fried bird takes a star turn after a liberal tossing in that lifeblood spice, Sriracha (non-lethal dose, but still zaps the taste buds).

Stir-fried shrimp and bamboo shoots are coddled within a nest of crispy rice noodles slowly softened by seafood broth.

(November 2008)

By Warren Rojas

Food: 6.8 Ambiance: 7.2 Service: 6.8

A standard bearer for authentic Thai cooking in the minds of many, Duangrat’s remains vital not for its traditionalism but rather its innovation.

The handsomely appointed main dining area combines festive murals and artifact-filled display cases into a culturally provocative design scheme. Tunic-clad gents and flowery-skirted waitresses help complete the Southeast-Asian illusion.

Though well versed in Americanized Thai (pad thai, protein-stuffed chicken wings), Duangrat’s continues to stir interest in their cooking by championing colorful updates.

Lychee dumplings reveal sweet fruit enveloping minced pork and nuts. Crunchy plantains give way to a terrifically sweet center. Garlic-crusted cod flirts with spicy mango salad (enticing). Deep-fried pork is swabbed with a ground chili paste that delivers creeper heat.

(June/July 2007)

By Warren Rojas

A work of edible art, the golden quail platter summons a trio of delicately seasoned game birds (dusted with white pepper) formed into a pyramid of crackling skin and perfumed meat, all surrounded by a ring of sweet soy jelly.

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