Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Vannipa Thai

When there’s a plethora of Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants vying for your patronage, it’s easy to crave other Asian cuisines more exciting than pho noodles and orange chicken. Vannipa has the solution. Ironically enough, Vannipa, established less than two months ago, stands sandwiched in what could be a developing China Town. rs

When there’s a plethora of Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants vying for your patronage, it’s easy to crave other Asian cuisines more exciting than pho noodles and orange chicken. Vannipa has the solution. Ironically enough, Vannipa, established less than two months ago, stands sandwiched in what could be a developing China Town.

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Vannipa Thai

As if to accentuate this fact, the Thai restaurant disregards the traditional embellishments its neighbors have taken up. Instead, trendiness laces Vannipa’s aquatic theme reminiscent of the tropics. Pearly walls, tinted in a coral tone, bring out the deep blues that color the ceiling. Thankfully, the owner is no amateur, and has impressively reined in a potential case of Tackyville USA.

Adding to the equation is an air of sophistication that hangs over Vannipa’s staff and porcelain dishware. The sole waiter, in particular, is fabulous at helping the customers decipher the menu. If he recommends it, try it; customers are guaranteed only the finest available.

The Sea Trout Dad Deaw ($15.99) is definitely worth mentioning. Expertly cut, marinated in homemade sauce, then deep-fried, the trout comes topped with peanuts, lime juice, cilantro, shredded green mangos and carrots, served on leafy lettuce folds. Although a tad difficult to eat with chopsticks, the dad deaw is fantastically crispy. The rare appearance of mangos on the dish creates a wonderful aroma that plays up the sweet and tangy factor.

Rewinding to the appetizers, the Duck Rolls ($6) take home the prize. Pleasantly wrapped in thin rice wraps, the rolls are stuffed with roast duck, thinly-sliced cucumbers and spring onion. Flavoring these treats is a special sauce, sort of on the sweet and salty side. That is not to say, however, that other selections are any less delightful. The Chicken Satay ($6) or the Moo Ping ($6), both grilled and skewered, come close behind the Duck Rolls.

Among the entrees, the Drunken Noodles ($7) also deserves praise. Entrees are offered with the choice of chicken, beef, pork, vegetarian or seafood (additional charge of $2). Despite what its name may allude, the wide rice noodles, stir-fried with spicy garlic and basil sauce, awaken the taste buds and appeases the palate wonderfully.

Assuming that diners feel it safe to disregard the triple stars that indicate the highest level of spiciness, the Pad Cha ($15) from the Chef’s Specialties is known for more than its tear-inducing hotness. The catfish, stir-fried and flavored with chili paste, also has its share of fragrant basil leaves. If you’re not ready to digest such spice, there’s also the Ba Mi Ped ($10) or Kao Na Ped ($10) to try. The roasted duck dishes served over yellow egg noodles or jasmine rice are scrumptious enough to give the house bragging rights.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end at some point. But there is no reason why you shouldn’t indulge in some Thai desserts before leaving the food haven. The Sticky Rice and Mango ($5), prepared with fresh Champagne Mangos, may be pricier than a quart of chocolate Haagen-Dazs, but so much more satisfying, not to forget healthier. And granted, you’ll need that extra dose of healthy after the overwhelming number of delicious dishes takes the best of you.

Vannipa Thai

6037 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church

703-671-2201 • vannipathai.com

Hours:

Monday – Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Saturday, noon – 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon – 9:30 p.m.