Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Pasa Thai Cuisine

Tucked in a strip mall is Pasa Thai Cuisine, a corner of Thailand in the middle of McLean. The amply-shaded parking lot lends clue to the restaurant’s theme: calmness equivalent to nature. spotlight1

Tucked in a strip mall is Pasa Thai Cuisine, a corner of Thailand in the middle of McLean. The amply-shaded parking lot lends clue to the restaurant’s theme: calmness equivalent to nature.

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Pasa Thai Cuisine (Photo: News-Press)

The exterior patio is a refined space. A flat-screen TV displays photos of the dishes, giving onlookers a visual sneak peek at what dishes lie ahead.

One can experience Thai “pasa,” meaning language, upon entering. Tunes reminiscent of traditional Thai grajabi, an ancient fretted lute, and notes of the soft saw duang fiddle were present in the restaurant’s music choice.

The green and wood interior, flameless tabletop candles and black curtains work together to make the establishment’s interior not only inviting for the appetite, but also for the dining experience itself. Guests were immediately greeted by a host and led to their table of choice. The courteous wait staff made sure no patron went unnoticed, swiftly responding to tables’ needs.

Cocktail-thirsty patrons unfamiliar with the Thai bar scene ought to try one – or two – of Pasa’s authentic Mai Tais ($10). A driver-friendly alternative would be the Thai Iced Tea ($3), a glass of freshly-brewed sweet tea topped with coconut milk.

When considering a dish, be warned; the calm correlation between the humble surroundings and modest staff is not synonymous with its cuisine. The spicy selections, visibly rated with red chili icons, may have diners reaching for a glass of water. But, hesitations aside, a runny nose and watery eyes couldn’t have been more worth the burn.

The Tom Khagai ($6), a chicken and galangal soup, Papaya Salad ($7), or the Yum Talay ($9), an assorted seafood combo tossed in a spicy lime dressing with Thai herbs are good starters for iron-stomached patrons. For a milder flavor, try the Crab and Herb Soup ($7), Chicken Curry Puffs ($7) or the Pasa Thai Dumplings ($7), a wonton of crabmeat, shrimp and pork, with a tasty Thai soy dip.

The restaurant’s entrées cater to the individual, wherein each dish can be customized down to the protein-specific. Diners can choose from marinated beef, pork, chicken or seafood, while enjoying each with Pad Khing – a sautéed ginger, onion, mushroom and bean sauce – the Pad Prik Sod stir-fry or the Rama in Jucuzzi, a chef-inspired curry sauce with fresh broccoli ($13 each). If a sense of adventure takes over, one can try the Chicken Pineapple ($16), Pottery Shrimp ($16), Whole Crispy Flounder or Steamed Whole Rockfish (market price).

Head Chef Iadu Komel makes dishes consistent with only the freshest ingredients, proved by the al-dente style of the sautéed vegetables. The Spicy Garden in bean sauce, Pad See-Ew Veggie, Green or Red Curry Veggie and Tofu Snow Pea entrées ($11 each) prove Komel’s high standard of cuisine, without forfeiting the flavor.

Pasa Thai’s sweets, though limited in choices, are ample in flavor. The Pineapple Sorbet ($4) – smooth and creamy – keeps in theme come presentation, served in a hollowed pineapple shell. Pasa also offers carry-out and catering services, delivering within a three-mile radius. So whether it’s dining in or out, genuine Thai food is something to celebrate and Pasa Thai Cuisine is worth the bells and whistles.

Pasa Thai Cuisine

1315 Old Chain Bridge Rd., McLean, VA

703-442-0090• 703-442-0093

Hours:

Mon. – Thurs., 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Fri., 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.;

Sat., Noon – 10:30 p.m.; Sun., Noon – 10 p.m.