Arts & Entertainment

Neisha Thai’s Flavorful Food, Hip Ambiance is a Tysons Treat

NEISHA’S COCONUT ICE CREAM with sticky rice is a simple, but tasty dish. (Photo: Drew Costley/News-Press)
NEISHA’S COCONUT ICE CREAM with sticky rice is a simple, but tasty dish. (Photo: Drew Costley/News-Press)

Neisha Thai Cuisine’s enchanting experience starts when you walk into the restaurant’s vestibule. On either side of it are built-in water bubble lamps, lit with aquamarine lights.

After the vestibule, diners are greeted by a dining room that is at once grand and intimate, with dimmed lights that still illuminate a range of orange and brown tones. One of the highlights of the dining room’s chill vibe are the circular, wicker chandeliers that hang from the ceilings.

The space that Neisha Thai occupies is its second in Tysons Corner. Rick and Pui Kitchrayotin opened the original location of Neisha Thai in Tysons Corner Center in 1999, moving to its current location across the street from the mall nearly three years ago.

Sharing a building, among other businesses, a Nordstrom Rack, Destination XL and BJ’s Restaurant Brewhouse – all of which look rather ordinary from the outside – Neisha’s decor alone sets it apart from its neighbors.

And, although the aforementioned businesses aren’t all restaurants, Neisha’s food and service back up the restaurant’s beautiful ambiance. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options on the restaurant’s menu, there’s even a section of the menu labeled vegetarian in which all of the dishes are vegan, but there’s only two vegetarian/vegan dishes on the appetizer menu.

But they are both decent options. There’s the standard Spring Rolls ($5.95) and the not so standard Sapphire Jumbo Tofu ($5.95). The Sapphire Jumbo Tofu – deep-fried tofu triangles – would fall into the old style of flavorless tofu, but the peanut sauce that accompanies the dish saves it.

The young woman who accompanied me to dinner is not a vegan or a vegetarian, and she had the Kapow ($11.95) – beef, chicken or pork with fresh basil leaves, garlic and chili sauce – with beef. She said that it was tasty. She ordered it spicy and, though it could have been spicier, she said, it was still good.

As previously stated, there’s a whole vegetarian section of the menu. There are traditional dishes like Pad Thai Jae ($10.95) and Veggie Fried Rice ($10.95), both of which can be ordered with eggs, and Green Curry Vegetables ($11.50).

Then there are dishes like the Spicy Eggplant ($10.95), which are a much more rare than the other three dishes. I mean, there are tons of eggplant dishes out there, especially when it comes to Asian cuisine, but Neisha’s Spicy Eggplant – with Japanese eggplant stir-fried with fresh chili, garlic and basil leaves in a bean sauce – is probably the best eggplant dish I’ve had of any kind.

First of all, it lives up to its name – it’s got a spice that isn’t overbearing, it grows with every bite. And then the eggplant, garlic and basil team up for an earthy, hearty taste. Finally, the bean sauce adds a salty-sweet base that helps the dish engage the entire flavor palate. By comparison, the Green Curry Vegetables was good, but wasn’t nearly as flavorful.

Also, in general, Neisha’s portions are generous, but not so large that the young lady accompanying me to dinner felt uncomfortably stuffed. As such, she said, there was room left for Neisha’s dreamy sticky rice and coconut ice cream tandem.

In opening Neisha, which the Kitchrayotins named after their daughter, Rick Kitchrayotin wanted “to share everything he loved” about his native Thailand with his community here in the United States. The restaurant’s – and their daughter’s – name translates to independence, individualism and uniqueness in Thai. And this place, with its wonderful decor, delectable dishes and attentive, patient service, is a hidden jewel in the rapidly growing Tysons dining scene.

Neisha’s Thai Cuisine | 8207 Leesburg Pike #110 | Vienna | 703-883-3558 | neisha.net