Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Elephant Jumps

0319Elephant Jumps has gotten significant attention from local food critics, and they’re not bashful about sharing that information with customers.

Between printed reviews that line the Thai restaurant’s front windows, to critic suggestions added to the menu as a kind of preface, diners know to expect good things. Most recently, the spot was named to the 2011 Washingtonian Cheap Eats list, as well as this year’s Washington Post Fall Dining Guide.

With the reasonable prices, healthy portions, charming atmosphere, and stellar Thai and Thai fusion cuisine, it’s easy to see why this spot gets rave reviews.

Dinner begins with a feast for the eyes. In rich red tones, the restaurant is decorated with framed tapestries and filled with wooden tables packed into the cozy space. While well-appointed, the warm and friendly atmosphere (not to mention the paper napkins at the tables) encourage a more casual dining experience.

The meal begins with an assortment of appetizers to choose from that range from Asian food staples like spring rolls and dumplings to more inventive Thai cuisine.

The roti green curry chicken, at $7, gives diners a sneak peak at what any good Thai spot is known for – a spot-on curry. The house green curry gets a simple treatment – with just chicken, mushrooms, and eggplant filling out the sauce – that highlights the curry and its complex balancing act involving the heat of spices and the sweet of coconut milk. A small portion of the curry is served alongside deliciously buttery, crispy triangles of fried roti for stacking and eating.

0318Another dish for those who like to build their bites is the $7 golden pastry cup. Again, a fried base (this time eight crunchy bite-sized pastry scoops) is paired with a stew-like mix of meat and vegetables. In this dish, however, the sauce takes a backseat to the fixins (minced chicken, green pea, onion and carrot) showcasing the quality of the vegetables with each pop of a pea in the mouth.

With a handful of specialty chicken and fish dishes (not to mention the beef, chicken, pork and shrimp ways one can order a number of curry and stir-fry dishes), there is no shortage of variety in entrees for meat eaters. But still, vegetarians get their pick from an admirable selection of stir-fry, curry, rice and noodle dishes. In fact, the pad Thai, a Thai food staple, comes packed high with vegetables and fried bean curd for those opting to dine without eating meat. The house pad Thai, from $10 to $12 depending on its accompaniment, is a sweeter and smokier adaptation of the standard, offering up fried rice noodles woven around a thick tamarind sauce and sprinkled with bean sprouts and crushed peanuts.

While authentic Thai food reigns supreme, the restaurant still features a playful set of Thai fusion picks under its East Meets West menu section. The $8 burrito satay chicken is a fun way to offer up Thai tastes in a familiar way. While the delicious, tender grilled chicken satay pieces are lost amidst the hefty amount of jasmine rice packed into the burrito, the peanut dressing this restaurant serves up (used to season the rice, with an extra dose accompanying a side salad) takes the dish to a very delicious place somewhere between Thailand and Falls Church.

Elephant Jumps is located at 8110 A Arlington Blvd., Falls Church. For more information, call 703-942-6600 or visit Restaurant hours are
Monday – Thursday – 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday – 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.; Saturday – 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday – 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.