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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bangkok Joe's

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: Georgetown

The Setup

Looking for dinner in the area before heading to West End Cinema, Official Girlfriend of DCWD Texas chose Bangkok Joe’s, a recommendation from a mutual friend.

The Vibe

Trendy, trendy, trendy. This is not unexpected, sits squarely on the Georgetown waterfront, and has to keep up with the Joneses in Sequoia et al. Not coincidently, the restaurant’s space is designed to fit the maximum amount of people possible, despite the long and thin corridor. Along the window side of the restaurant are the typical seats, four-tops and booths which form two rows along a raised platform. On the other side is the bar area, which runs the length of the restaurant and ends in a cocktail booth-ed lounge that abuts the hostess stand. In between these two sections is the cheekiest part: a row of two-top booths along the divider, which are raised and thin; the feeling is somewhat like being on a Japanese train (though if you were afforded the opportunity to sit). This is where we sat for this meal (though, honestly, with the night crowd, we were just happy to get a table).

The décor is red and orange and creates a decidedly crimson glow over the otherwise dimly lit room. There are touches of Asian-ness here and there, like the patterns on the bar and some of the fixtures; then again, there are just some weird pieces, like the giant framed three-dimensional art piece at the far end of the dining space that looks vaguely like orange cinnamon buns stuck on a red canvas. The sound level gets up there, as is typical for a restaurant of this trendiness, and be prepared for a healthy mix of Georgetown preppies, post-work suits, and students from GW trying to take their parents out someplace nice when Founding Farmers was booked.

The Food

To start, Texas and I split the dumpling sampler, a pair each of shrimp, pork and crab shu mai, winter squash potstickers (butternut, sweet potatoes, onions, egg), mushroom and ginger (featuring water chestnuts), and chicken potstickers (with corn and shitake). The various reactions we had to these dumplings ranged from “feh” (shrimp, chicken) to “I could do this again” (the winter squash). For Texas, who at that point hadn’t had a dumpling since her summer in Shanghai for fear of ruining the memory, this was not necessarily the first set she wanted after she finished, despite the advertisement from friends to the contrary.

For our main dishes, I let Texas pick two to split. So out came an order of tofu panang red curry, and tofu pad thai. The thing to say is that the portions are very generous – like size of your head generous. Otherwise, this is pretty standard Asian food fare, something easily replicated at the other fifteen restaurants within a mile named Thai [insert noun], despite the trendy setting. The tofu was nicely fried, and the whole thing was slick in a good way, but probably not anything deserving of second notice.

The Verdict

Okay, but probably no different from any number of non-trendy Thai places.

Food Rating: ** 1/2
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 2.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Bar Rating:
Suits Scene to Party in the USA
(out of 5) ($75-$100 for two)
: On a drive down the Whitehurst Freeway, Texas noticed that the rebuilt Waterfront is not only done, but great looking. Head over there afterwards for a nice post-meal view.

Bangkok Joe's on Urbanspoon

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