Join Carolyn on a takeout adventure, through her taste buds to Bangkok 54 Restaurant in Arlington VA!
Ok, Cool Moms. I’m here to talk to you about a restaurant that’s new to me, Bangkok 54. This place first came to my husband’s attention a few months back, when he went to pick up our Covid take-away sushi order from the place next door. He accidentally went into Bangkok 54, figured out it was the wrong place, but thought ‘man, this place smells delicious’, and kept it on his radar.
So, last week, while my mom was visiting, she offered to treat us to dinner, and we gave it a try. I give Bangkok 54 credit for having some more unique items on their menu than most other Thai restaurants, like the 54’s Moo Krob, which is strips of pork belly fried crispy, topped with garlic and pepper, served with light soy sauce, the house special duck rolls (both of those were appetizers), and the crispy duck and duck curry from the entrée menus.
There’s other stuff on the menu too, other than duck, I promise. But we happen to love duck in this house, so those caught our eye, and we ordered them, along with the Moo Krob, fresh mango and crispy shrimp salad, 54’s spicy duck, and pineapple fried rice.
I’ll start with the Moo Krob. I do love pork belly when done right…and this wasn’t terrible, but…pork belly is already quite fatty (all the flavor!!), so this was fatty, and then fried. I should note that I’m not a big fan of fried food (I know, I know, I’m sorry). I generally feel that most foods are not enhanced by being coated in batter and fried in oil, with fried chicken being the exception (though not all fried chicken is created equal, but when it’s done right…oh yea, that’s worth it). So, for me, this was just a lot, and I really couldn’t eat very much of it. Same thing with my spicy duck. While it had a nice kick to it, the duck was fried, and was similar to a Chinese General Tso’s chicken. I’m not a fan of Chinese food either (I KNOW! And I’m Jewish too; liking Chinese food is basically a law! I mean, what else would you even DO on Christmas??), so for me this was a strike against it, while for my husband, who is a normal human and likes Chinese food, this was a plus.
It did have a nice kick to it, and decent flavor, but just too much crispy outside for my tastes. And while we’re on the topic of fried stuff, let’s talk about the crispy shrimp that came with the salad. Holy giant battered prawns, Batman! These things were HUGE. I didn’t check how big the shrimp was inside, but regardless, they had to be like, triple fried to be that large. Sort of defeats the idea of a salad, but you do you. For the salad itself, it wasn’t anything to write home about. The mango was ripe and delicious, but the salad was all iceberg lettuce, with a few other things.
Now, before you go thinking I hated this restaurant, the duck curry was good. It’s a red curry, has some spice, and good flavor. There’s still some left over in the fridge, and that might be my lunch tomorrow. My husband also said the fried rice was fine, nothing to write home about. So, to sum up, if you like Thai food, this place might be worth checking out. They have decent variety on their menu, and some things you don’t typically see. I might even eat there myself again, I’d just stay away from the crispy/fried items. In the meantime, I’m gonna go finish some more of that duck curry…..
Bangkok 54 Restaurant is located at 2919 Columbia Pike, Arlington VA 22204
Author: Carolyn Vernan is a member of our Cool Moms of Northern Virginia group, and first-time mom to an adorable yet exhausting 8-month-old named Kylen. She is also a proud dog mom of two. Fall is her favorite and her freezer is always full of desserts, which she loves to share!
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