Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
Atmosphere: Cozy and friendly.
Price range: Appetizers and soups, 75 cents to $3.50; noodle dishes, $3.25 to $3.75; rice dishes, $3.25 to $4.99; children's selections, $2.50 and $3.
Reservations: A good idea for large groups, since the restaurant is small.
Credit cards: Mastercard and Visa.
Special facilities: Highchairs and booster seats; carryout; parking in shopping center lot; accessible to the handicapped.
Not much Thai cooking has come our family's way. We recently discovered what we were missing when we visited Bangkok West in Reston. It's a fine place for families to dine, combining unusual food, attentive service and reasonable prices.
Bangkok West occupies a space that has housed several restaurants offering various ethnic cuisines over the past few years. Its single dining room is quite small, but a glass wall facing the plaza makes it seem bigger. It is furnished with simple bentwood chairs and tables covered with bright red or yellow cloths.
The menu offers both Thai and Chinese dishes, divided into noodle and rice categories. An asterisk indicates "hot and spicy" seasoning. A word of warning: Don't expect the mildly hot variety often served in Chinese restaurants. Thai dishes, especially those made with chilis, can be quite fiery.
The menu gives a simple description of each offering. Another plus, in our book, was the notation that the restaurant uses no monosodium glutamate (MSG) in its cooking.
Children's portions are available at $2.50 for noodle dishes and $3 for rice dishes. Our waitress patiently answered the children's questions about the various choices, and later offered them chopsticks.
We started with two appetizers, both of which were delicious. The fried won tons ($1.50) were light, crisply fried triangles that quickly disappeared. So did the stuffed chicken wings ($3.50). Boned wing meat was mixed with crabmeat, ground pork, mushrooms and bean thread, then wrapped around a wing bone, dipped in batter and deep fried.
For entrees we tried both Thai and Chinese dishes, and generally preferred the Thai specialties. One selection, laad nha ($3.25), was everybody's favorite. Rice noodles resembling spaghetti were topped with pieces of chicken and broccoli in a tasty brown sauce.
A Chinese dish, lo mein ($3.25), consisted of wide egg noodles stir-fried with pork, chicken or beef, plus carrots, mushrooms, broccoli and bamboo shoots in a slightly sweet sauce.
From the rice side of the menu, we sampled kai pud puk, or moo goo gai pan ($4.25). In a nice blending of textures, tender chicken was stir-fried with crunchy broccoli, mushroom and onion. With it came a bowl of steamed rice.
Of the two "hot" dishes we ordered, beef curry ($4.25 -- a daily special) was the more incendiary. In fact, our obliging waitress offered to bring another bowl of rice to help douse the fire of this stew-like curry.
The other selection was fried chicken with cashew nuts ($4.50), a flavorful combination of ginger, bamboo shoots, green pepper, spring onions and chili peppers.
After all that exotic food we finished with an unlikely dessert, a light and velvety chocolate mousse ($1.50). Also available was creme caramel ($1.25).
The bill for our family of five, including a Chinese beer for Dad, appetizers, desserts, tax and tip, came to $38.80.