Tom Yum District brings rice and noodle bowls to Rosslyn

Let's just get the obvious comparison out of the way: Tom Yum District, a fast-casual Thai restaurant that opened Thursday in Rosslyn, aims to be the Chipotle of Thai food. And it's in good company in the region, where we already have the Chipotle of pan-Asian cuisine (ShopHouse); the Chipotle of Indian food (Merzi, Thaaja); and the Chipotle of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food (Roti, Cava).

(Maura Judkis/for The Post)
(Maura Judkis/for The Post)

So, you know the drill: Four starches, four proteins, five sauces and 10 choices of vegetables and toppings, which you'll select as you move down the line. You can top your rice, noodles or salad with chicken, steak, shrimp or tofu, and choose your heat for the sauce from mild (lemongrass-ginger) to spicy (drunken sauce). You can also add the house-made green sriracha and chili sauces, found at each table. A full menu follows below.

The wallpaper in the women's bathroom (Maura Judkis/for The Post)
Look closely at the wallpaper in Tom Yum District's women's bathroom.

Tom Yum District's interior is sleek and modern, with accents of cheery hot pink and yellow. The space is noisy, though, and a glass wall separating you from the bowl assembly line means that short people will have to speak up to place their order. A clever noodle silhouette of an elephant is a motif throughout the space -- you'll even find it in the bathroom, where the wallpaper cheekily depicts it engaging in some risque behaviors.

The restaurant is owned by chef Aulie Bunyaratapan and restaurateur Mel Oursinsiri, the husband and wife duo behind Bangkok Joe’s in Georgetown and T.H.A.I. in Shirlington. Since the concept is so easily duplicated, Bunyaratapan says they already have their eye on a space for a second Tom Yum District for the downtown lunch crowds. For now, you can find it at 1515 Wilson Blvd., open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Full menu:

BASE
White Jasmine Rice
Brown Jasmine Rice
Pad Thai Rice Noodles
Asian Mixed Salad

PROTEIN
GRILLED BEEF $7.55
Coriander-Garlic Marinade
GRILLED CHICKEN $6.95
Lemongrass-Turmeric Marinade
GRILLED SHRIMP $7.95
Sweet Chili Sauce
GRILLED ORGANIC TOFU $6.75
Sesame Ginger Glaze (v)

SAUCE/DRESSING
TOM YUM
House-made Chili Paste and Lime(v)
PANANG CURRY
Curried Peanut Sauce(v)
DRUNKEN
Oyster Sauce, Chili, and Garlic
LEMONGRASS-GINGER
Oyster Sauce and Thai Herbs
WHITE WINE-ORANGE VINAIGRETTE
Sweet and Tangy(v)

TOPPINGS
Asian Mixed Romaine, Napa Cabbage,and Carrots
Red Onions
Bean Sprouts
Cucumber Relish
Mixed Herbs Cilantro, Basil, and Mint
Grilled Vegetables
Thai Omelet
Crushed Peanuts
Fried Garlic

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.
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Maura Judkis | June 27, 2013