Urban Thai, Crystal City

In Crystal City… My waitress from a different restaurant was Issan and told me Urban Thai has Issan menu (like Little Serow’s style). She says it’s excellent. Funny, she hasn’t heard of Little Serow and when looking at Yelp pictures she said “It doesn’t look Thai, it looks modernized Americanized”.

Has anyone tried Urban?

I went for you.

My friend got her standards: Tom Kha Gai ($5.25) and Pad Woon Sen ($12.95) – I took literally one bite of each, and liked them both. It needs to be emphasized that I literally had one sip of the broth for the soup, and one piece of the chicken (no noodles) for the entree – based on these teeny samples, I would order either in the future.

However, I got two things that I thought might exist on a separate Issan menu if they have one: Urban Style Duck Curry Puff ($6.25) and Nam Tok Beef ($8.95). About the curry puff – they’re fairly common, but have you ever seen one with duck? I don’t think I have, and this is clearly made in-house, with a napoleon-like pastry sitting as the top layer – this is was a multi-layered puff, and extremely sophisticated in presentation (standard plastic tub of cucumber, raw red onion, and sweet vinegar notwithstanding). Great puff! Get it! And the Nam Tok Beef is a small, room-temperature salad, something like what you’d see at many a Thai restaurant in the area. This is, in fact, on the *separate E-SAN ZAB VER menu!” Did I not mention that there is indeed a separate menu?

It’s described as “Grilled, marinated beef frank [*] steak with red onions, cilantro, and scallion tossed in spicy chili lime dressing, and has a similar flavor and spice level as a typical Larb Gai (in other words, it’s spicy as hell, but won’t knock you into the next room – also, bear in mind it has little cubes of beef and not ground pork).

(*) Having now had this, I can safely say that this is indeed a typo for flank; you’re not going to get a hot dog, don’t worry.

I asked the lady working the register if they had a separate Issan menu, and she confirmed that they did, and was kind enough to make a copy for me – she emphasized that they’re soon to come out with yet another, which features “the short-grained rice” (I didn’t know what she was talking about, because the rice that came with the food was very short-grained). It couldn’t have been sticky rice because they already have that with the mango dessert. The only thing I can think of is the dry rice that Himalayan Heritage serves, but that’s only a guess.

Here’s the menu:

Urban Thai’s Special Thai Menu

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Urban Thai’s Super-Secret E-San Zab Ver Menu

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