Little Serow is the second establishment from the folks behind Komi, a restaurant that you have probably heard of because it’s usually in the discussion as one of DC’s best. That, or you’ve already been, and hear about it every month from Visa as you try to pay off your meal.
Regardless of your feelings on Komi, know that Little Serow is a much different experience. This is a small, casual establishment that sits right below the original restaurant, and it’s a place where magical things happen. What kind of magical things? Imagine the wonder and excitement of seeing a real life unicorn or meeting sexy sax man in person, and then imagine getting punched directly in the face at the same time. It’s an experience of immense pleasure and awe, sprinkled in with a little pain.
You see, the food at Little Serow comes from the Northern part of Thailand, a region of that country known for dishes that are packed with fiery and pungent flavors. The menu is a $49 family-style meal, comprised of seven dishes that change weekly. Dinner here is a roller coaster of delicious extremes, ranging from sweet to sour, hot to cold, and spicy to cooling...sometimes all in the same bite. It’s mind-blowingly good, it’s a steal at that price, and it’s also no secret. People line up outside of Little Serow every day, waiting for the doors to open at 5:30.
The question with all of these “line up outside before the doors open” restaurants that DC seems to love so much is always: will it be worth it? In Little Serow’s case, the answer is absolutely yes. We’ve never been anything but blown away with a meal here, even when we’ve waited outside for an hour in the thick of July just to get a table. The good news in that scenario? You’re going to be sweating inside too - but from a different kind of heat. Prepare accordingly.
Nam Prik is a spicy Thai dipping sauce, and we’ve seen a few variations on this dish at Little Serow. This recent iteration came served with a salted duck egg, and it was tremendous.
There is almost always a laap (laarb) dish in the mix at Serow, sometimes duck, sometimes even things like catfish. You’ll be pleased, even though your tongue will pay a hefty price. It’s spicy stuff.
A fixture on the Little Serow menu, these pork ribs are some of the best we’ve had. Marinated in whiskey and topped with dill, these will likely be the cool respite at the end of an incendiary meal. Be thankful for them, and for the fact that you are good at life.