Arlington’s Bangkok 54 arguably serves some of the area’s best Thai food. Just ask Washington Post Magazine’s critic Tom Sietsema, who called the fare “as good as Thai gets” for this area back in 2006.Four years later, and nothing has changed.
Arlington’s Bangkok 54 arguably serves some of the area’s best Thai food. Just ask Washington Post Magazine’s critic Tom Sietsema, who called the fare “as good as Thai gets” for this area back in 2006.
Four years later, and nothing has changed.
Boasting a solid four-out-of five-star rating based on more than 100 Yelp.com reviewers, Bangkok 54 definitely isn’t lacking any buzz among local diners, or trendy ambiance for that matter. From flower-shaped garnishes carved out of carrots to coconut shells-turned-ice cream bowls, it’s no wonder the local establishment, dripping in red walls and lush décor, is sparking conversation.
An admitted favorite, the Stir-fried Spicy Eggplant doesn’t skip a beat with its colorful offering of green peppers, onions, fried-to-perfection purple eggplant, red chillies and sweet basil, all tossed in a spicy black bean sauce. One of eight hot-wok specialties, this and others can be paired with chicken, pork, beef or tofu for $9.95, shrimp for $12.95 or a seafood combo for $14.95. Served up with a side of white rice, the hearty helping packs enough flavor to satisfy anyone’s Thai craving two times over.
Another standout is Bangkok 54’s Butternut Squash Red Curry ($15.95). Jumbo shrimp, simmered in a southern classic curry, come served with mixed greens, brown rice and crunchy cashews. Lest we not forget the headliner ingredient here. Known for its nutty, pumpkin-like taste, the butternut squash is an absolutely genius pairing with the spicy red curry, which lends a creaminess to the shrimp that echoes the smooth texture diners taste in the squash slices — aesthetically placed in a circular frame around the seaside treat.
Though normally wary of over-the-top food displays, which only begs this writer to see a lively distraction from potentially lackluster flavor, one of the most impressive things about Bangkok 54 is its thoughtful presentation. And diners, rest assured — the extra effort to set the stage definitely isn’t disguising a flavor flaw behind the scenes.
The show kicks off with an opening act of Spring Rolls ($3.95 for 2) — arriving stood up in a chic martini glass atop a bed of carrots julienne, with sweet chili dipping sauce resting in the bottom — and closes with equally-sweet encore of Young Coconut Ice Cream ($6.50). The frozen treat, topped with a sprinkling of shredded coconut mixed into a touch of coconut milk, comes stuffed inside an actual coconut shell for a little something extra.
And if that creativity isn’t enough to put a smile on diners’ faces, maybe Bangkok 54’s happy hour will. Each weekday, from 4 – 6:30 p.m., patrons can save 50 percent off their cocktail tab and choose from an array of low-priced (starting at $4) appetizers. Lounge reservations for dinner or events are also available.
Easily topping the list of quality Thai food up for grabs in this area, Bangkok 54 knows how to please locals’ palates.
And it’s not afraid to whip out the bells and whistles to prove it.
2919 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA
bangkok54restaurant.com • 703-521-4070
Restaurant: Sunday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
(Lunch available until 3 p.m.)
Lounge: Sunday – Thursday, 5 – 10 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 5 – 11 p.m.