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Crispy whole flounder, with fresh basil and chili-tamarind sauce. [Joseph Victor Stefanchik/For The Washington Post]

Thai Square gives you dozens of reasons to frequent the place. They include fish cakes mashed by hand with lime zest and curry paste, honey-roasted duck that announces itself as the fragrant dish gets close to your table, and green curry shrimp. The last, a recent special, combines springy black tiger shrimp and a coconut milk gravy that’s as refined as any I’ve ever encountered.

 

What you won’t find at Thai Square is much atmosphere, or service that goes beyond “Ready to order?” and “Want another Singha?” The dining room is exactly what its name suggests: a square dressed with some colored panels. Not every dish is a hit, either. Pad Thai with tofu proves sweet and bland. But why would you order something so routine when the choices are so rich? Let me steer you to a fiery salad of frizzy fried tile fish and julienned mango, tender scored squid tossed with fried basil and red chilies, sun-dried strips of pork served with a dipping sauce that’s bold with tomato paste and fruity with papaya puree … you get the idea.

 

Owner Sunthorn Rojural shops for the vegetables himself; his wife and chef, Mataporn, makes her curries in small batches. Their attention to detail pays off. When the Thai Embassy needs a caterer, Thai Square gets the call.

 

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