Despite the ethnic overtones of its name, Sorn Dang looks like a yuppie eatery: blond wood tables decked with crisp linens and fresh flowers, fresh fruit daiquiri specials and hanging greenery. If it weren't for the oriental prints and the smell of lemon grass and ginger root, you'd expect to find burgers and quiche on the menu.
Instead, there are fiery neam- sodh, plentifully stuffed egg rolls, and juicy, lean satays at Alexandria's first Thai restaurant.
Presentation is as polished as the dining room is attractive. . Sprightly greens might adorn an appetizer of golden-fried squid, and entrees arrive in attractive terrines and single serving pots.
There are no surprises among the appetizers, but the soups are a sure bet, delicately seasoned and filling. Entrees run he gamut from barbecued chicken to stuffed omelets, but concentrate on the house specialties, such as Baked Shrimp Bean Threads, doused in cognac and oyster sauce, brimming with silky-textured bean threads and clean, fresh tasting jumbo shrimp. Equally good are Subgum Wonton and the Seafood Combination, a delicious and generous mix of shrimp, lobster and barely cooked vegetables- and a fine example of Sorn Dang's "Thai-style Chinese food."
"Flame fish" is the kind of fare diners either relish or avoid, for the fish arrives whole in a bath of bubbling "palm sauce" soup, kept hot and simmering by a candle heater, thus giving the effect of a still-breathing fish, tender and succulent.
Sorn Dang is pleasantly inviting, fresh and youthful and a place to enjoy an affordable banquet.
1743 King St., Alexandria. 684- 5977. L $1.95-$7.95, D $3.50- $12.95. L, D daily. AE, C, DC, MC, V. Res sugg. Full bar.