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Facebook - A gorgeously fun interactive Shrimp Paste-Fried Rice (pure shot, no f

PHOTO: Shrimp Paste-Fried Rice at Mango Tree DC (c) Sery Kim recently published my review of CityCenterDC's newest -- and best -- restaurant, Thai cuisine Mango Tree DC. You can find the link here:

Full text below!

Mango Tree, located in 929 H St. NW at CityCenterDC, has cornered the full-service meal offerings in this luxury mixed-use development. A petite 48 seat cocktail bar on the entry-level floor leads to the back staircase before winding up to the darkly sexy, 140 seat, main dining room. The design includes floor-to-ceiling windows, with a contemporary twist to the Thailand-inspired decor, while the cuisine has been well curated by founder and CEO Pitaya Phanphensophon.

Ease into the comfortable Crate-and-Barrel Curran chairs and begin the meal with a refreshing Lychee Bellini, as well as the colorfully zesty yet still sweet Green Papaya Salad or the nicely fried Vegetable Spring Rolls. Both dishes have filling flavors without the notorious zing (!) Thai cuisine is well-known for.

As for the main courses, sensational could be the only adjective used to describe the accompaniment dish Shrimp Paste-Fried Rice. A visually iterative dish, the brown rice was placed off-center, in a rice cake-esque formation. Five delicate, individuous scoops of marinated sweet pork, apple som tum, dried shrimp and peanut gracefully fanned around the rice -- with slivers of egg on top of the rice cake -- to create a vivid and heartily fun dish. Nor a morsel was left on the plate.

Fun was, in fact, the persistent theme for the meal. The Lobster Pad Thai sparkled in an arresting presentation with the lobster's severed head on the dish, with the tasty pad thai mixture as the spiritual food "body." Tentacles soared towards the ceiling with a feisty salute to culinary creativity. But don't miss the opportunity to order the Crisp Fried Branzino. A devastatingly interesting presentation and taste.

The only disappointing course was dessert. The offerings were not traditionally Thai in any real sense such as Mango Tree's take on creme brulee. The Turian Khao Niew Moon was uneven and unsweet, while the Kluay Kaeg Kafae Waan was a too heavy pot-au-creme again missing a sweet finish.

Overall, Mango Tree was a pleasant dining experience and demonstrably the best full-service restaurant at CityCenterDC. Be sure to stop by for either cocktail hour or for a nice meal while in Washington, D.C.

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