50 Best Restaurants 2018: Padaek

A Lao and Thai restaurant in Falls Church

Padaek
Photo by Jonathan Timmes

By now, local Lao-food fans know James Beard-nominated chef Seng Luangrath changed the name of Bangkok Golden to better represent her native cuisine on a menu previously dominated by Thai dishes. There’s still plenty of Thai, but Luangrath and her family are the center of a heightening Lao-food movement, so stick to that side of the menu (She’s opening a third restaurant, Hanumanh, in D.C.)

Start with the completely addictive naem khao, a DIY lettuce wrap situation involving crispy coconut rice, peanuts, sour pork and a ton of other bright flavors and aromatics. Spicy, gingery sun-dried beef and sweet-spicy-garlicky pork sausage also make exciting starters. An order of mee kathi brings a rich and murky red coconut curry broth swimming with rice noodles, peanuts, egg, cilantro and banana blossoms, among a myriad of other flavor boosters.

Turn up for lunch weekdays—except Tuesdays, when the restaurant closes—for a mostly Thai buffet that definitely does the trick to fill a mad craving for drunken noodles or pad thai.


Padaek
Lao + Thai | $
6395 Seven Corners Center, Falls Church

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