Wow, we had way too much fun at Straits of Malaya. We were joined by J&J, and after getting a private tour of their new abode we headed into the neighborhood to find some good eats. First: the weather. That day was AMAZING. I know you may not be able to recreate that for your first visit (the season is basically over), but keep in mind that Straits has lovely rooftop seating. Second: the service! Our problem was typical: we wanted everything on the menu and didn't know where to start or what to choose. Our server was so helpful--we basically gave her the list of things we wanted and she told us which dishes were similar or had similar sauces so we could have more variety. Yay!
We enjoyed (and correct me if we're not remembering right--it was a while ago and I didn't take notes because it tends to embarrass my friends) the following: the curry puffs (less puffy than you might imagine, still delicious), five spice roll, chicken with basil, curry Chinese eggplant with chicken, and cha kway teow, a noodle dish billed as the chef's favorite.
We had a lot of flavors and textures going on, and I'd recommend everything we tried, which leads me to think a lot of the other items are worth trying on our next trip to the Straits. The place had a reliable, neighborhood feel where you know you'll get a good meal, you won't be rushed, and you also won't need to wait for hours to experience some mediocrity. Would I drive to Vienna Metro, head into the city on a Saturday evening, and hit Straits up as a date night destination? Probably not. But if me and my guy were strolling around the city on a temperate evening, wondering where we could have a quiet, yummy dinner that wouldn't break the bank, and by the way can it be outside? And we don't want to wait? Straits is that. We'll be back, but not before we explore the rest of our pals' new neighborhood.
Straits of Malaya
1836 18th Street NW
Metro: Red Line to Dupont Circle