Chada Thai

RESTAURANT REVIEW — For those of us who have traveled to Thailand or who just want to eat authentic Thai food as it is served in Bangkok–Chada Thai, then you must visit the recently reopened restaurant under new management at the crossroads of Gideon and Smoketown. It is a welcome addition to the Woodbridge restaurant scene. We are accustomed to lunch buffets at local Asiatic (Chinese and Indian) establishments, and some may be initially disappointed that Chada offers no buffet. But there is a reason.

While Indian stews seem to improve while sitting on buffet warmers and many Chinese dishes survive reasonably well while they wait, Thai food is much better cooked to order, where every tidbit of eggplant or mushroom preserves its individual flavor. Want a buffet? Take a friend or two and share the dishes family style. In any event, every entrée ordered from the lunch menu includes the choice of a delicious cup of tom yum soup.

Most Thai restaurants here in the States “Americanize” their offerings, assuming a lack of sophistication in the American palate. No such condescension at Chada Thai. The flavors here are distinctive and assertive in the true Thai style. The “twigs and leaves” (going by such names as “galangal” and “kefir”) you find floating in your platter are there for flavor and can be set aside as you dig in. The menu offers wonderful combinations of vegetables, curries, and salads, with meats (chicken, beef, pork, or duck) or seafood (fish or shellfish). If you want the “spiciness” dialed down, speak up when you order. At dinner most of the entrées are under $10 (less at lunch), with the duck and seafood slightly more. Pad Thai, that favorite of many, with its jumbo shrimp and relatively mild flavor, costs exactly $10.

Not only the quiet background seems familiarly American. Chada avoids the faux pas experienced recently at one upscale DC Thai restaurant, where place settings included chopsticks. Unlike Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese, Thais eat with forks and spoons in their native land! It is mildly ignorant to ask for sticks, unless you don’t know how to use a fork!

Save the airfare to Bangkok and eat Bangkok style at Chada Thai. It can make you want to visit the original locale, either again or for the first time!

Chada Thai
14527 Smoketown Rd
(Near Gideon Rd. and Potomac Mills)
(703) 490-3344


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