Pasa Thai is one of the least-known established area Thai restaurants that I can think of (although there are really getting to be quite a few). It’s in downtown McLean, right next to Evo Bistro, and has been open for about five years.
I got there at 9:15 PM on a Tuesday evening (it closes at 10), and sat down at the bar with a Singha ($6). I’d never been here before, and had absolutely no idea what to expect.
Both my appetizer and entree came from their daily specials, and weren’t on the regular menu (when you order fish as a daily special on a Tuesday, it’s either going to be really fresh, or really not fresh).
Yummy Eggplant ($10) lived up to its name, as I love Thai eggplant. These were grilled, topped with minced chicken in a spicy lime dressing, and laced with oversized slices of savage, raw red onion. On the one hand, I wish restaurants knew how to cut or dice raw red onion into reasonably sized pieces; on the other hard, the larger slices make it easier to sift through and push to the side of the plate so they can be discarded. Raw, red onion is surely one of the most overused and incorrectly used ingredients in the culinary world.
Spicy Lime Fish ($22) was a steamed rockfish filet topped with “mouth watery spicy lime sauce,” similar in spirit to the sauce I’d just enjoyed on the eggplant (I was in the mood for something tart, and both of these really appealed to me). It came on a large plate, was a good-sized filet, firm to a fault, and also somewhat flaky. Surprisingly, it was served with brown rice which I think wasn’t the best choice although it worked in its own way.
Just to be sure, I asked the bartender if I could get my food with no MSG, even though it says “All natural ingredients, no MSG” on the menu. He said yes, and typed something in. Although this looks questionable, it could be an instruction for the kitchen to “go easy on the fish sauce” or something similar to that.
My impression of Pasa Thai was that it’s a good, solid neighborhood Thai restaurant, above average but not award winning. If I were in the area, I’d go again, and people living in the McLean area should at least have it in their carryout rotation.