Friday, August 27, 2010

Sage, Rosemary, Basil and Thai - Guest Post

Growing up Hawaii is like growing up in a melting pot of many different cultures. The majority of the ethnic groups that have migrated there are Asian, thus influencing (along with many other things) cuisine. Asian spices, sauces, and rice are found at almost ever turn. On most corners, next to the McDonalds or Subway, is take out Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, sushi or another other of Asian food. Because of this, my comfort food isn’t a plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but anything and everything involving rice.

As usual, in the middle of the week I had strong cravings for some sort of Asian food. While doing some shopping in Georgetown with a friend we made our way up Wisconsin Ave and found ourselves at Basil Thai. I had passed it many times, but never tried it.

Basil Thai opened its doors a few years ago, after Onie Sorapun, Janet Varee and Weena, three native Thai women, decided to embark on their adventure of opening their first restaurant. It is a smaller restaurant, about 4 or 5 blocks from the hustle and bustle of M Street. When we arrived for dinner around 7:15 there were only two other tables full.

When I go to a new Thai restaurant, I do as most people do when they are trying a new restaurant. I stick to the basics. For Thai, I think most would consider Pad Thai and some sort of curry to be the staple dishes. After a day of shopping, we were hungry enough to eat enough food to feed a small army, so it only made sense to order Crispy Chicken Wonton, as well as chicken Panang Curry, and Basil Thai’s version of Pad Thai.

The wontons came quickly after we ordered. The menu said that they were going to be minced chicken deep-fried in the wonton wrapper, and served with a sweet and sour sauce. Although fried wonton skin is delicious, there was very little chicken in the wonton, which was a little disappointing for a $6.95 appetizer.

Shortly after we finished our main entrees came out. The plate of Pad Thai looked so good that we each simply dug in with our chopsticks for the first bite, instead of putting some on our plate first. It was delicious. They put chicken, tofu, and a few shrimp in it, and it was very basic and traditional Pad Thai. As high of the mound of noodles was, there were no leftovers of the Pad Thai to take home.

My friend and I are both big fans of yellow curry, unfortunately Basil Thai didn’t have that on the menu, so the owner (who was also our waitress) suggested Panang. The curry was very flavorful, and we ordered it on the mild side. A word to the wise – mild still has a little bit of a kick for a person with a weak pallet when it comes to spice. Since I’d never had Panang curry, I’m sad to say I have no other places to compare it to, but the flavor was delicious and there was a lot of chicken in it.

Overall our meal at Basil Thai was a positive one. There were times when the service was slow, and had to ask for an extra bowl of rice multiple times, but the Pad Thai may have been some of the best I’ve ever had, and the ambiance of the small privately run restaurant created a unique experience in the heart of Georgetown.
Zoe Edwards grew up in Hawaii and is currently living in DC where she is a journalism student at American University. Since she was eight, her goal has been to attend culinary school after graduating. Zoe enjoys spending her time cooking, and hanging out with friends and family.  You can follow her blog at:

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