If You Can't Handle Heat, Get Out of This Kitchen
Published: Friday, August 31, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 17:08
Tucked in a corner on 18th Street, The Regent is easy to miss — I almost walked into the neighboring restaurant by accident. My friends and I went on a Friday night and were seated quickly indoors. Outdoor dining is also available, but unfortunately, so is oppressive heat during a D.C. summer.
Although the restaurant was initially empty and silent, as our meal progressed, the noise level in the restaurant steadily increased and it became clear that The Regent is quite the gathering spot.
The jury is still out on whether the dim lighting was an attempt at mood lighting or simply the result of malfunctioning light fixtures. Either way, it was slightly overkill, especially when we tried to read the bizarrely shaped menus, which resembled two boards of patterned plywood fastened together. Our waiter was prompt and brought the food steaming hot, but I got the distinct impression that we were bothering him, which was slightly unsettling. Thankfully, his dogged service made up for his apparent attitude.
Once the food arrived, my experience differed from that of my dining companions. I ordered basil fried rice with chicken. I had been warned that it was spicy. Generally, I enjoy spice and have a good tolerance, so I assumed I would be fine, especially because the rice would surely include vegetables other than hot peppers. However, there were no other vegetables beside the somewhat ridiculous carrot garnishes. My dish was literally basil, fried rice and a surfeit of hot red and green peppers.
I’ve always believed spice should stop right before it becomes painful, but this dish did not abide by my rule. I practically guzzled my Thai iced tea in an attempt to stop the burning. Incidentally, the Thai iced teas were delicious but, in my opinion, somewhat small for the price.
My friends ordered drunken noodles and vegetable green curry, and both thoroughly enjoyed their meals, finding the food delicious and a great deal, especially given the high prices of the Dupont area. The Regent is affordable, with dinner items costing between $11 and $16. Unfortunately, my view of the restaurant was skewed by my painful, painful meal.
Fortunately, things started to look up for me and my dying taste buds when dessert arrived. A friend and I decided to share the mango sticky rice. When the dish arrived, I noted the small size with dismay. However, it was excellent. Fresh mango was the perfect companion to a bed of warm, rich sticky rice. If the dessert had been any larger, I probably would have exploded right on the spot. This item was slightly on the expensive side, but I was not as concerned. That probably reveals a lot about my feelings towards dessert: It’s really one of the most essential aspects of any meal.
I left The Regent with mixed feelings. I was extremely full and therefore walking the line between utter satisfaction and nausea. I felt like I might have spontaneously developed heartburn from the extreme spiciness of my food, and I lost feeling in my mouth in the process.
The Regent has good food for a relatively good price, and that’s why it’s so popular around the Dupont area. However, for lazier Georgetown students such as myself, I kind of wished I had just gone to Mai Thai on Prospect Street for food of the same quality and price.