Little Serow is an ultra-hip, vintage Thai restaurant in DC created by the chef of Komi, the Washingtonian's Best Restaurant of 2012. This sister restaurant just opened last year and was included in Bon Appetite's Hot 10: America's Best New Restaurants. It is a little peculiar and has some very specific ideas around dining...
- They don't take reservations; seating is first-come, first-serve
- They offer one menu with seven courses, no substitutions
- There is no seating available for any party bigger than four
- It is located in the basement of a townhouse which can seat about 10 parties at any given time
- There is no sign for the restaurant
- No flash photography (which means no pictures for you all to see, sorry)
- It is supposed to be very, very good and spicy (YAY!!)
On cue, at 5:30pm the door to the basement opened and a girl's head popped out, accepting one party at a time inside the intimate restaurant. By 5:45pm we were seated at a long, communal table (on one side) that faced a big, white basin sink with beer on ice. SUCCESS!
The decor at Little Serow is simple with a distressed tin roof, vibrant sea-green walls, and classic white tables with bar stools adorned with tea-light candles. The entire ambiance is like having dinner at someone's house -- relaxed, cozy and fun.
There is a small, selective wine and beer menu that offers a range of drinks like Belgium beers, IPAs, and a Lambrusco (sweet, red Italian bubbly wine) -- all pair really well with the spice in the courses. They offer beers by the pour - $5 for a 5 oz glass. Which is what I went with - a Belgian variety. Then it was time to get things started.
Each table gets a rice basket (sticky white rice) and veggie basket (cabbage, radish, Thai eggplant, lettuce, and Thai basil among other things) as an accompaniment to each course. These both can help temper the spice of the dishes if things heat up too much. I didn't have any problem with the spice in any of dishes but that didn't stop me from eating all those veggies! Turns out, fresh cabbage is really tasty.
The first course,