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“Thai food - prix fix menu $45”
Review of Little Serow

Little Serow
Ranked #313 of 3,229 Restaurants in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Thai
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
2,740 reviews
1,088 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1,510 helpful votes
“Thai food - prix fix menu $45”
Reviewed October 31, 2013

Tip: There is a line before 5.20pm.
Tip2: Spicy food.

I came around 5.15 pm, on a Thursday, and there was already a line. But we could get a table.
The menu is prix fix, it includes 7 dishes and it's $45/pp.
Some dishes are very spicy and I found some more authentic than others. I didn't appreciate the dish that comes with a fried egg, it was boring. And the ribs weren't really Thai food.
All the other dishes were delicious, including the coconut sticky rice desert.
The staff is very attentive. And the restaurant has an interesting decor.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank HelenaGuerra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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154 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Are you kidding?”
Reviewed October 18, 2013

How anyone can give this place 5 stars is beyond me. Taken in by reviews, we went here tonight after having heard about it some time ago. At least we didn't queue! (If you do insist on going to this place, at least have the sense to turn up after 9pm, when you can walk in the door, make a booking, and then come back 30 minutes later).

Ok, so it looks 'trendy', it's not one of those huge chain restaurants, and the lovely young women who serve you are friendly and polite even while they are forced to deliver insanely pretentious information about each plate they deliver. (Quite why the waitresses at a Thai restaurant should all look like they could be selling organic vegetables at the Dupont Circle market on Sunday is not clear but at least they were nice.)

As for Thai, really this was not Thai food. It kind of looked Thai, it had Thai names, and Thai ingredients but it lacked subtletly. Everything was over-the-top. So much chilli the poor redhead at the table across from us nearly died, had to retire to the bathroom with her hand over her mouth, and looked deathly pale when we were leaving. There was no complexity. The food was hot. Most of it was either too sweet or too salty, or both. I could see cilantro, but its taste was smothered. Was there galangal? Lemongrass? Who could have told through the blanket of onion and garlic.

This was deeply disappointing and most definitely not worth $125 for 2 people.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Rebecca M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mexico City, Mexico
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Best Thai Ever”
Reviewed October 15, 2013 via mobile

Amazing food, service, atmosphere with the most original place to eat.
It is underground and hard to find, be persistent to search for the entrance. WAIT!!!! It is worthy.
Small place but the 7 courses worth it, the best is that you can't choose the food but don't worry is great

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank ndelrio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
34 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Lives up to its reputation, worth the wait”
Reviewed October 9, 2013

We've been hearing about LIttle Serow for some time, and the stars finally aligned yesterday so that we could be in line around 4:30 for their 5:30 opening. We were third in line, behind a couple and an individual who was waiting for her friend. In the end, we were seated second. From the first bite to the last, this was a culinary adventure worthy of many a Michelin multi-starred restaurant, with wines (recommended by our server) to match. The menu changes by a few items every week or two; our selections included a salted bluefish with khi nu chilies (a kind of relish), a soup-like dish called tom kha pla muk, a sour pork, lime leaf and cashew dish, laap khway (buffalo, long pepper and lemongrass), a salted prawn dish with what we laughingly called "thai croutons" (these turned out to be fried rice cakes, but of a texture and taste previously unknown to us), a vegetarian oyster mushroom, holy basil and poached egg dish, and finally pork ribs to die for. The spice is impressive throughout, until the last couple of offerings - perhaps so diners don't combust on exit? - and felt on the lips, the tongue, the back of the throat, the roof of the mouth and (in my case) the nasal passages (one dish induced sneezing) - BUT - so are the varied flavors, textures and visual delights of the offerings. I am never the first in my family to choose spicy dishes, but I can't wait to go back. HIghly recommended, worth the quirky no-reservations, hidden entrance, fixed menu experience. Just do it!

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank jpsgirl96
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia, USA
Level Contributor
139 reviews
87 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Best meal experience I've had”
Reviewed October 1, 2013

I’m going to say this right off the bat: Little Serow is my favorite meal experience in Washington, D.C. up to this point. More than living up to the hype, Johnny Monis, the head chef of the famous Komi restaurant (which is regarded by many as the best restaurant in D.C.) has created a cheaper, Asian restaurant right next door. For $45, you get a pre-fixed menu consisting of mainly Thai flavored cuisine. And you’ll be hard pressed to find a better $45 meal anywhere else in the city.

In order to find the restaurant you’ll want to find and face Komi first; Little Serow’s door is the unmarked basement door to the lower left. Keep this in mind: there will most likely be a very long wait. They don’t take reservations, so you have to put your name on the list with the hostess. In most cases, there will be a line JUST to put your name on what usually is a 2-hour wait list. From what we heard, on the weekends that line can even be as long as 20 minutes. It is a ridiculously long wait time to be sure, but it’s worth it. Just plan accordingly, and plan on having a drink at one of the nearby bars while you wait. They will text you when your table is ready, so you can go as far away as you want.

The restaurant itself has very limited seating; there’s only about five tables that seat 4, three tables that seat 2, and one communal large table that seats about 12. The atmosphere is like being in a minimalist kitchen with dim intimate lighting. The music is not too loud and all the waitresses are dressed like mothers or Laura Ingalls’ look alikes. And they were great; perfectly attentive without being too intrusive.

I would typically give a review of each individual food item, but because the menu routinely changes up, there’s no real guarantee that what I’ve tried will be on the menu for you. The menu apparently changes up on a weekly basis. After doing a little research though, it does appear that there are a few staples that are on often regularly on the menu, including the pork ribs on ours.

So even though there’s no point giving individual critiques, as a whole the food was DELICIOUS. There were so many flavors that felt totally new, yet familiar at the same time. The food was very, very spicy too – I cannot stress this enough. The side of vegetables and sticky rice will be your best friend throughout the meal. Our dinner ended up being 7 plates with a small dessert. The standouts on our menu were the mushrooms, which were a unique flavoring of sweet as you first eat it and then spicy as you finish it, and the pork ribs.

To sum it up – try this place. It’s not going to kill your wallet at $45 and you’re guaranteed to experience flavors that you’ve never tasted before. I plan on going back to try some different plates and it only takes a quick look at its critics, Yelp, and TripAdvisor reviews to see a communal appreciation for the place even though several different meals were sampled. For me personally, if Little Serow was this good, I’m more than curious to know what his even more prestigious Komi restaurant is like. It looks like I’ve got something new to save up for.

http://hereandtheretravel.wordpress.com/

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank andrew_s_lee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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