Image: Hô nûng gài (Spicy Chicken in Banana Leaf).
Last Updated: August 2022
Current Status: Open for dine-in with inside, outside and bar seating. Take-out and delivery also available.
When considering candidates for the best Thai restaurant in the area, Baan Siam is on the short list. It is the precise cooking that sets it apart. Chef/Owner Jeeraporn “P’Boom” Poksupthong moved from the smaller spot she ran on 14th Street, Baan Thai, into these more spacious digs in Mt. Vernon Triangle, but the bigger space has not diminished the quality. The dishes range from mild to eye-watering while maintaining the distinct and complicated balance of flavors and textures. The crispy lotus root salad with shrimp plays sweet off against spice, crispy off against tender. The Khao Soi Gài of chicken thighs with egg noodles in a spicy base has long been a crowd favorite. The menu pulls heavily from legendarily spicy Northern Thai cooking, but uses the whole country for inspiration. Poksubthong has never dumbed down dishes. Pad Thai was not on the menu at Baan Thai, a tradition carried forward here.
The new location does open up possibilities foreclosed in the smaller spot. Not only is the dining area bigger, the kitchen is bigger with some updated appliances. The bar area is much larger with 20 draft taps plus an increasing wine list. Frozen cocktails have also been added.
It is a few blocks from Chinatown, but well worth a walk. In fact, it is worth the trip wherever you start from.
Other Guidance: The tone is casual, shorts and t-shirts are not out of place. The menu marks the GF and vegetarian options, but be warned few dishes can be altered for other allergies. The main floor of the dining room is a few steps down from the ground-level entry, but ADA accessible.
Neighborhood: Chinatown/City Center
Address: 425 I St NW Washington, DC 20001
Washington Post: One of three new places reviewed by Tom in 2020. No rating but high praise: “At Baan Siam, there’s not a bite out of place.” Also in 2020 Fall Dining Guide. Tim praised Baan Thai.
Washingtonian: Top 25 New Restaurants in 2022. Baan Thai was #84 in 2018; #77 in 2017. It also made the Cheap Eats list in both years, making it one of the few on both lists.
Washington City Paper: Then-food editor Laura Hayes named it Best Restaurant in the 2021 food issue.