The Thai Room is Under New Managment, and They’re Serving Smoked Ribs and Chicken, and a lot of Bourbon

From what I can tell, the Thai Room that used to be on Connecticut Avenue in NW DC up there where Nebraska Avenue crosses, closed up shop in 2005 after a 30 year run.  I think there’s some kind of ping pong pizza restaurant with an even better known locally famous sign there these days that lets free form jazz pick up combos make experimental noises in the back.

I moved to the Washington, DC area in 1991, first to Arlington, then finally helping to start up a group house in Mt. Pleasant in 1993 with some other musicians that only liked to play in odd time signatures. The Thai Room was just always there. I know I went there on at least one date, maybe two, and I can’t remember if there were many other Thai restaurants around at the time. Couldn’t tell you if the food was good or not. Not sure if my palate was advanced enough at the time, probably isn’t that advanced even now.

But I do remember liking two things:

– All the green plants they had in the windows

– And their sign

I am not sure where the plants ended up, and if they are still living healthy plant lives or not.

I hope they are.

But I know where the sign is.

It’s in my friend’s backyard.

The Thai Room sign lives on. Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

The Thai Room sign lives on.
Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

The new Thai Room is now located in the old Walter Reed area of Washington, DC and serves a seasonal prix fixe menu. Last time I was there I was offered deliciously smoked pork ribs, a green bean salad brought by another guest, and teeny tiny roasted potatoes. They have a strict BYOB policy, so I accompanied my meal with a 24 pack of Modelo Especial. Usually there is bourbon readily available, but the chef had finished it off two nights before, and finished all the Hornitos Tequila before I had arrived. Since the actual Thai Room Restaurant portion of the new site is only located outside, within the confines of a worn down fence that at times may catch fire from randomly placed candles, they have a smoking “at-will” policy, which is pretty nice (I almost wrote “sweet” here, but everyone knows I don’t actually talk that way). The new owners smoke more cigarettes than are usually available, and you may at a moment’s notice be sent out on a “ciggy run” to one of the many nearby liquor stores to make a transaction through bullet proof glass. One of the last times I visited this establishment, I was smoking on the upper deck waiting for an order of fish tacos with smoked jalapeno peppers, when I and all of the other guests were pelted by unripened pears tossed over the fence by neighborhood youths who immediately fled when I stood on my rocking chair and pointed directly at them with a look that said “you little mongrel pricks”.  Other nights I had enjoyed smoked chicken without incident. And I vaguely remember a special holiday dinner for St. Patrick’s one year that featured corned beef hash nicely done and accompanied with Jameson’s and those big bottles of Guinness Extra Stout.

Other pluses that make this joint favorable to me are:

– The availability of parking though it’s on a one way street

– The human jukebox who only plays 78 rpm records through one of those furniture pieces your grand pappy used to have

– The utilization of grown on the premises vegetables (tomatoes, lettuces, peppers, cucumbers)

– The homemade pickles

– The puppy who doesn’t bark and smells good.  Really good. The puppy in fact provided the after dinner entertainment the other night by leaping back and forth into the sprinkler.

The biggest plus for me is that if there is a queue for the single occupancy water closet sandwiched between two bedrooms , it is encouraged by the management that you piss in the garden.


2 thoughts on “The Thai Room is Under New Managment, and They’re Serving Smoked Ribs and Chicken, and a lot of Bourbon

  1. Brandi Davis says:

    Can you tell me the exact address of the new Thai room? I loved their special chicken and I can’t find one thai place in DC that stands up to their good food like the good ol days. Thanks!

    • Yes, the Thai Room closed nearly 10 years ago in 2005. Now Comet Ping Pong is in that location.
      My post is about how the owner of Comet Ping Pong is friends with another friend of mine and gave him the old Thai Room sign which now hangs on his fence in his backyard.
      Whenever I hang out in his backyard it brings back memories of the good food at the Thai Room.

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