Despite the restaurant's name, sushi is not what you want to order at Logan Circle's Tsunami Sushi & Lounge. Located above and from the same owners as Thai Tanic, the place was previously limited to so-so spicy tuna rolls and unadventurous nigiri platters.
But about a month ago, the restaurant debuted a new Thai menu, under the name Baan Thai, in response to all the customers who came upstairs asking for Thai food. Instead of Americanized Thai staples like pad thai and panang curry that you'll find at Thai Tanic, the upstairs restaurant features a completely separate menu—no substitutions allowed—with more authentic dishes from across Thailand, including the more sour, funky, spicy flavors of the northern part of the country. It's one of the most unexpectedly delicious meals I've had in a while.
The crispy rice cakes are a worthy starter. The puffed-up crackers come with a sweet-savory dipping sauce of ground chicken and shrimp, ground peanuts, onions, and coconut milk. Meanwhile, a bamboo shoot salad dressed with chilies, lime juice, scallions, shallots, mint, cilantro, and roasted rice powder tastes just like something you'd find at Little Serow.
The stir-fried spicy "pork picnic"—chunks of meat, red and green peppers, eggplant, finger root, fresh peppercorns, central Thailand curry paste—is designated "very spicy" on the menu with four chili pepper signs. The heat is most definitely not dumbed down. Our server declares his favorite dish to be the khao soi, a Burmese-influenced curry with egg noodles, super tender chicken thigh, pickled cabbage, scallions, shallots, and crispy fried noodles on top. Of the dishes I tried, I have to agree with him. Plus, the khao soi costs $14—two dollars less and just as delicious as the much smaller version of the same dish at Doi Moi.
The check arrives with a complimentary coconut cream-filled pastry—a simple, satisfying sweet. But the best part? Two appetizers, two entrees, and a drink (with plenty of leftovers to box up) will set you back less than $50.
Now if only the place would change its name.
Crispy rice cakes:
Bamboo shoot salad
Spicy stir-fried pork picnic:
Coconut cream pastries:
Tsunami Sushi, 1326 14th St. NW, 2nd Floor; (202) 588-5889; tsunamisushidc.com.
Photos by Jessica Sidman