Burapa Thai Opens in Clarendon

by ARLnow.com February 17, 2011 at 11:17 am 7,127 53 Comments

Clarendon has a new Thai restaurant.

Burapa Thai opened its doors on Monday. Located next to Circa at 1210 North Garfield Street, the restaurant serves Thai classics like Pad Thai and Kaprow, in addition to some signature dishes like the crispy Burapa Noodle in spicy chili gravy.

The restaurant also has a sushi bar near the back, allowing it to serve fresh sushi and hybrid dishes like the bento box with spring roll and Pad Thai noodles.

The Panang Curry was particularly delicious when we stopped by last night. The Larb Gai, meanwhile, was excellent as a starter.

Burapa Thai is offering a limited-time $1 per piece sushi deal through March 15. Regular deals include a 50 percent off happy hour from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., half-price wine on Tuesdays and Thursday and kids (10 and under) eat free on Monday. There’s also a lunch special from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.: two dishes on one plate for $9 to $12.

The restaurant offers an order-by-fax carry-out option (fax: 703-294-4104) and free delivery with a minimum $20 order (phone: 703-294-4102). It’s open from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Management eventually hopes to bring in a live DJ on Saturday nights to create a lounge-like atmosphere.

Burapa Thai is owned by Prat Uthes, who emigrated from Thailand 20 years ago. A born entrepreneur whose passion for cooking started when she was seven, Uthes also owns Burapa Thai restaurants in Lansdowne, Winchester and Ashburn.

Uthes worked her way through graduate school after arriving in the Washington area at age 20. When her first restaurant went belly-up in 1999, she worked to pay off her debts and then tried again. On her second attempt, Burapa Thai was born and enjoyed considerable success in Loudoun County. This is her first attempt to move in on Washington and its immediate suburbs.

  • Clarendude

    Love Thai food so I’m happy. As long as they can make it Thai-Hot ! Don’t like when they tone down the spice.

  • LP

    The girlfriend and I went Tuesday night and sat at the bar – we had two appetizers and each had a main dish. Both the apps and the main courses were very good, definitely a lot better than Rien Tong and a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

    We met Prat and she was very nice, welcoming and was very focused on making sure the food was good. She mentioned that she plans on having lots of specials and the 50% off HH that they currently have going on – it’s great!

    Hope they make it, I’ll do my best to keep them open.

    • Ballstonian

      Does the 50% off apply to all food and drinks?

  • Pip

    I’ll get some takeout from there tonight, wish I had friends in this area 🙁

    Anyone who has been, which menu do they have? Does it have the mussaman and the wild curry?

  • Lacy Forest

    Ah, another Thai restaurant in Arlington. Soon there will be one within walking distance of everyone.

  • Vietnamese > Thai

    • mehoo

      No way.

  • Bluemont John

    I love Thai food and wish the proprietors great success–but what’s up with the sushi? I mean, why not also throw in some lo mein and some kim chi?

    • Banksy

      Completely agree. The sushi makes me wonder about their menu. Unless it’s expressly a “pan-Asian” restaurant, they should stick to Thai.

      • Relax Preppy

        I stick to the Bangkok 54 market for the as close to authentic thai food you can get… plus its way cheaper.

        • ChrisW

          Sawatdee in Courthouse is the way to go.

          • mehoo

            Chrystal Thai on Rte 50 is pretty good.

          • Bluemont John

            We used to love it, but then the panang chicken got watery, just as prices went up. What’s the panang situation these days, mehoo?

          • mehoo

            I actually never liked the panang (one of my favorite dishes normally) at CT. Get the catfish, it’s awesome. And drunken noodles!

          • Bluemont John

            Yes, I remember the catfish! Tasty indeed.

      • mehoo

        Why? Who cares if they serve two kinds of food? So that makes them “pan-Asian.” You object that they don’t put that in their name? Is there some kind of law that you can only serve one kind of food, unless you say you’re serving more?

        • Bluemont John

          Places that try to serve two types of cuisine, from countries that are nowhere near each other and nothing alike culinarily, generally do not excel. Think of the “Chinese and Japanese” restaurants you’ll find in small towns. Great if you love greasy egg rolls and tempura.

          Austro-Italian is one thing; they’re neighbors. Even Japanese-Korean would not be that crazy, given that there are a lot of Koreans in Japan and vice versa. But Japan and Thailand have little in common, culinarily or otherwise. A love of white sticky rice is about it.

          That said, this place could be the one exception. Maybe they have a Japanese sushi chef; one never knows.

          • mehoo

            This isn’t a small town, and they aren’t serving egg rolls and tempura.

            If it’s good, I’ll eat it. Don’t care where it was born, just where it’s being served – on my plate.

            I think it’s strange that Banksy said it would be fine as long as they called themselves “pan-Asian.” So it’s pan-Asian. Those places are doing pretty well.

          • Banksy

            But I don’t think Burapa is marketing itself as pan-Asian. If it is, then they *really* need to re-think their menu. If I go to a Thai restaurant and see Japanese items on there, it makes me wonder how authentic either one of those cuisines are.

            Jeez, mehoo, no need to get so het up. You’d think I was KalashniKEV or something.

          • mehoo

            😆 No, you’re not KEV, or even our awesome buddy steve.

            All I’m saying is they can serve sushi in back if they want, and I doubt it will hurt their business, nor will I hold it against them. I’d love some sushi with my pad thai. I will judge “authentic” by what it tastes like. Heck, I don’t even care if it’s not “authentic” – to paraphrase Duke Ellington, if it tastes good, it is good.

          • Bluemont John

            On one hand, none of the top Thai places (Thai Square, Duangrat’s, etc.) serve sushi. OTOH, they’re not in Clarendon. Maybe the owner figures having it on the menu will be a real enticement to the clientele there–and she might be right.

          • libs

            Japan occupied Thailand for quite some time.

        • Wolfbait

          Because mehoo, unless you just enjoy being stubborn for the fun of it, if you’re playing the odds, Bluemont John is correct that places that tend to do more than one type of totally unrelated cuisine usually do neither one particularly well. There are exceptions of course, and more power to this place – I hope they get it right, but the majority of places are not exceptions.

    • JamesE

      They also have burgers and pizza

      • Bluemont John

        Oh god. Tell me you’re joking.

        • JamesE

          I am, but sadly it is not out of the question for this area!

          • Maria

            What about cupcakes?

      • Burapa Thai? That’s not on the menu.

        • Greg

          Hmmm… They must have frogurt then, right? Couldn’t have gotten their permits approved otherwise.

  • Clarendon Resident

    I venture a guess that the introduction of a DJ on Saturday nights will not be received well by the surrounding neighborhood. Unlike the other venues in the area with similar entertainment, the front door of Burapa Thai faces the bedroom windows of a hundred condo units.

    • JamesE

      Is it possible to have a place that doesn’t try to turn into a stupid dance club late at night? I remember being in Union Jacks with friends when it first opened and all of a sudden it started to transform into some reject club, so terrible.

      • mehoo

        It’s fun to watch clueless hot chicks dressed up so that clueless guys can stand around wishing they had the guts to talk to them.

  • LP

    50% off is only on drinks at HH (4-8pm).

  • borf

    Has anyone checked to see if this place is a chain? If so, it automatically sucks!

    • Spaz

      Not a chain. It’s owned by a family, they also have a store in Ashburn, Lansdowne and one in Winchester. I highly recommend them as Prat is very kind, and the food they serve is top notch. If you like spicy ask for 10 stars. It’ll blow your mind.

      • borf

        Thanks Spaz. I was just making a joke about how some people here think any chain restaurant is automatically bad. “Oh, don’t go there, it’s a chain” (say the word “chain” with extreme disdain in your voice).

        • Wolfbait

          It’s not automatically bad, especially if it’s a local chain that is small enough they can still make their own food without mass producing it – I love me some Hard Times myself.

          But yes, national chains to tend to totally suck. Read up on some Fast Food Nation… Once you “brand” your food, then you need to start being concerned with making sure that burger or pasta dish a customer orders at “Chain X” in Denver tastes exactly the same as when that customer orders that same dish when they go to “Chain X” in Philly. The way to do that cheaply is at the expense of food quality by using mass produced, pre-prepared ingredients. If that’s what tastes good to you and you enjoy it then go for it – it’s a free country.

  • Jason S.

    I’ve been to their place in Landsdowne, it was pretty good and look forward to trying their place in Clarendon.

  • SinSA

    Awesome. I LOVE super spicy Thai food. If I am not crying, it’s not hot enough. Can’t wait to try this place out and compare it with my favorite, Thai Square…

    • Bluemont John

      I hope you own a novocaine bidet, for the “after effects.”

      • mehoo

        I have one of those. Got it used.

  • R.Griffon

    Sounds good. Do they have a smoking room?

  • Kate

    The non-HH drink prices are outrageous. Wines by the glass–$9+;
    “cheap” beers: $6

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  • Pedro

    Thai hot OH YEAH! Good thing Pedro have life insurance!

  • Greg P

    To start, let me say that I’m impassioned to make this comment because I’d actually like a restaurant like this to succeed:

    I ate there last night and service was TERRIBLE. The hostess shuffled me and my date to the sushi bar where we waited 10 minutes before the manager herself, exasperated, finally came to take our order. She apologized, saying that three servers who were supposed to show up didn’t (sorry, (a) not my problem and (b) a very serious problem considering it’s a FRIDAY of your debut week – probably something you should have over-compensated for and erred on the side of having too many staff).

    The whole night was just more of the same – incorrect orders, waiting 30 mins for appetizers (seaweed salad!) to arrive, orders not coming at all, items showing up on our bill that we didn’t order. We left an hour and a half after sitting down, still hungry, and quite disappointed. The food that we did get was decent, however, so I’d consider coming back if I was assured better service.

    Again, Burapa and Ms. Uthes – take this comment to heart, and make some improvements! I’d like to see you succeed!

  • Not a fan

    I echo the remarks on poor service and a general lack of preparedness. I stopped in to order take-out earlier in the week on my way home from work and was told the wait would be a full 20 minutes. So, like the customer before me, I ordered and left…came home, changed clothes and read my mail before going back out to pick up my dinner.

    The food was mediocre. Not bad. Not great. Just…OK. Fine if you’re hungry and passing by, but certainly nothing noteworthy.

    I appreciate good Thai (e.g., Thai Square, Duangrat’s, Rabieng, etc.) and will gladly go out of my way to get it. But Burapa is nowhere near that level of quality or refinement of flavor. If you live nearby, by all means stop in for a bite. But if you don’t, it’s not worth the effort to make the trek.

  • libs

    I got some takeout there on Thursday because I have no friends, and I thought the food was pretty good. I wish they had the menu of I believe their Landsdown restaurant, as they don’t have Massaman curry on this menu here. The place was very nice, though I don’t see how/where they could have a DJ/dancing there, it’s not that big and no place for a dance space in there, unless there was a hidden room I didn’t notice.

  • Mike

    My 13 old daughter asked me to take her to Burapa Friday night. They were very busy when we arrived and it took a while for someone to notice we were waiting to be seated. Once seated, we ordered our drinks and food. We waited and waited and waited. Finally I got up and walked over and asked a waiter if they could at least bring us our drinks, which the promptly did, along with the food. My daughter didn’t have much of an appetite so she only ordered miso soup. And although she said it was tasty, it was little more than a 1/4 of a cup. I on the other hand ordered a crispy fried duck with fried basil. And frankly, and this was my daughter’s opinion as well, all we tasted was the duck fat. So it made it a bit difficult to finish even though it was a small plate. And for $18, I was a little disappointed. The manager, who was quite personable, came over as we were finishing up and apologized for the delay in being served. Will we go back? Yes, probably.

  • LyonSteve

    Experienced bad service as well.

    Was it a lack of preparedness? I don’t know.

  • MoreChilis!

    Took out this weekend. The quality, freshness and presentation were very good. The heat level was way way inadequate, especially considering I ask for Thai-hot, Extra-spicy. Normally, I wouldn’t ask for suh a thing my first time at a Thai restaurant, but I did and it wasn’t. I ate my whole meal with only one glass of water – that should not happen ! I also prefer my Papaya Salad with the dried shrimp rather than the grilled that they served. It was good enough that I’ll give them another shot though.

  • Jason S.

    I went there just now for lunch after saying I enjoyed their Landsdowne location and frankly it was terrible.

    The red curry was bland and weak despite asking for it “very hot” to which the genius “American Hot, Thai Hot, or John Hot?” I don’t care who John is, so I asked for whatever is hottest and maybe add a bit. Paying attention and following basic requests is not her strong suit, my curry was like a milkshake with a pepper in it. When I asked for it to be made hotter, because it was bland, they just put a tablespoon of crushed red pepper on top which basically ruins the balance.

    Skip it. I didn’t ask for a refund, because it was so bad I felt sorry for them.

    • Jack

      Maybe you just went in on the wrong day. Businesses do have some bad days for many various situations. I’ve been to this location 3 times now. The Friday night happy hour was extremely busy and though understaffed (new businesses do have some growing pains you know), the servers and managers did everything they could to accomodate.

      Anyhow, perhaps you just didn’t make yourself clear enough when ordering. When I’ve ordered (at this location and others) Thai restaurants are reluctant to actually make it extremely hot since many think they can handle it, then complain afterwards that they could eat it. Just a suggestion but if you were to return a second time, make yourself more clear that you indeed want it HOT.


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