Inviting atmosphere and flavorful dishes prop up Thai Derm
Downtown Silver Spring gets boring fast. With a limited number of restaurants not attached to a national franchise chain, there are few options for unique food in the burgeoning "hang-out" district. Gotten sick of Potbelly's? Tired of Chipotle? Interested in something beyond the company of Noodles? Nestled a few blocks from the pulsing heart of Silver Spring lies Thai Derm, a lovely little exotic kitchen.
Founded in 1983, Thai Derm has a long tradition of homey, family-style service and is one of the region's oldest Thai restaurants. With its minimal advertising, house-like appearance and location away from Ellsworth Drive, it is unlikely to get much foot traffic, but it is well worth the two-block walk.
The welcoming hostesses and rooms adorned with Thai chachkas lend to the feeling of being dropped in the family's dinning room. With low lights, classical Thai music and the sound of running water from a homemade rice patty diorama, a cozy, warm ambiance sets in.
The restaurant is almost never full, but it maintains a constant flow of families, couples and lone diners. The limited number of patrons allows the serving staff to pay special attention to your needs, offering detailed descriptions and personal opinions on dishes.
Before diving into the entrees, the appetizer menu is an obligatory stop. For only $2.95, three delectable, vegetarian spring rolls are delivered on a bed of carrots and lettuce with an accompanying dipping sauce that screams with a sweet honey flavor. If diners seek a light meal for two, the spring rolls can be combined with the lemongrass soup and coconut milk, which comes with either shrimp or chicken for a total of $10. All appetizers are quickly delivered in less than seven minutes.
Noodle dishes are the specialty of Central Thailand and are the featured item, with over 33 different options, on the menu. With the most expensive sitting at a manageable $9.25, all of the noodle entrees are priced well within reason. Featuring every type of noodle thickness, size, flavor and shape, these dishes can be topped with a variety of meats, sauces and vegetables that always mingle for an exotic explosion.
The dishes arrive within 15 minutes and pack enough food to leave you full, perhaps with a bit of leftovers for later. While the spices and herbs are fully jammed into each bite, there is an optional spice tray for added tongue seduction.
Dessert is not the restaurant's specialty, but the deep-fried banana wrapped in a spring-roll coating and topped with honey and sesame seeds is worth a try. The true sweet splurge comes not from the dessert menu, but from the drinks section. If you have a few extra bucks in your wallet, be sure to put it towards the creamy Thai iced tea. This delicious Thai creation is a dual-layer drink that throws your palette into a frenzy and is perfect for pre or post-dinner sipping.
With a new Thai restaurant now located above the fountain in downtown, Thai Derm is bound to see some setbacks in business, but the inexpensive dishes, cozier atmosphere and richer flavors of Thai Derm will surely keep it afloat. This Silver Spring jewel has long serviced the community, and if you have yet to pass through its doors, now is as good a time as any.
Thai Derm is located on 939 Bonifant Street off of Fenton Street in Downtown Silver Spring. It is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.; Saturday from 12 - 9:30 p.m.; and Sunday from 5 - 9:30 p.m. It is closed daily between 3 and 5 p.m. For more information or for a carryout order, call (301) 589-5341.
Lucas Alvarado-Farrar. Lucas is half Honduran and half American, but all Mexican. He is a New York native and naturally a fan of the Bronx Bombers. Lucas is a senior in CAP, plays soccer and runs track, and likes pretty much any sports activity. He is fond ... More »