50 Best Restaurants 2017: Padaek

A Lao and Thai restaurant in Falls Church

Photo by Jonathan Timmes

Padaek is a Lao fermented fish sauce. It is also the new name of Bangkok Golden from the James Beard-nominated chef Seng Luangrath.

In 2010 Thai food dominated the menu, but over the years Luangrath transitioned her secret Lao dishes to the main attraction, culminating in the name change this summer. The new moniker and a fresh coat of paint are the main updates; the Thai and Lao menu includes only a handful of new dishes. The crunchy, spicy, borderline perfect dish of crispy rice is still there, as is the lunchtime (mostly) Thai buffet offering dilly monkfish; a salty, spicy tom yum soup; a pad thai with chewy noodles and a little heat; and a drunken noodle that looks friendly with those wide, chubby noodles but really delivers searing, unforgiving heat. It takes a lot of confidence to cook that boldly during a daylight buffet. And that’s just the start of it at Padaek.

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

(50 Best Restaurants 2017November 2017)