Local Thai restaurant with surprising decor stuns taste buds

The Sisters Living Rom Café offers a cozy dining alternative to Mason students (photo by John Irwin).
The Sisters Living Rom Café offers a cozy dining alternative to Mason students (photo by John Irwin).

Without a doubt, Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines. Ever since it opened, I have been looking forward to going to Sisters Living Room Café in Old Town Fairfax. Unfortunately, I never had  the chance to try it until this past Saturday. It was an experience worth waiting for.

The restaurant, located at 4004 University Drive, is easily accessible by riding the Green 2 CUE bus or walking 15-20 minutes from the Fairfax campus.

The restaurant has a warm and cozy, shabby-chic inspired décor. Shelves of popular novels and classic anthologies covered the walls. A waitress  said that you could even pull them down from the shelves and read them.

The air buzzed with the conversation of happy families. For those wondering about Internet accessibility, I noticed a charming little chalkboard with the Wi-Fi password written on it. While the décor was surprising for a Thai restaurant, it was a delightful and hospitable environment.

The owners recommend that you make a reservation, since it is a small establishment. At 1 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon,  the dining area was almost packed. It is better to be safe than sorry in the case of this restaurant, so a reservation would be in the customer’s best interest.

The food took about 10-15 minutes to arrive. For an appetizer, we ordered the shrimp cakes. I got the ginger perfect with chicken as my entrée, and my companion got the drunken noodles with pork. All entrees can be served with your choice of meat or can exclude the meat altogether. The drunken noodles came out shortly after the appetizer, but my entrée took an extra few minutes, which was slightly annoying if you prefer having all main dishes coming out at once.

The shrimp cakes were wonderful. For those who are unfamiliar with Thai food, they are breaded and fried shrimp patties. The ones served at Sisters Café were a perfect golden brown and were wonderfully moist and chewy. The accompanying plum sauce with peanuts had a pleasant tang.

While waiting for my entrée, I managed to nab a bite of drunken noodles from my friend’s plate. The dish, comprised of wide rice noodles, chili, garlic, basil leaves, onions and tomatoes, was slightly spicy but not overwhelmingly so. The pork was crispy yet was not dried out.

My ginger perfect—chicken sautéed with ginger, onions, scallions and mushrooms in a soy sauce—was excellent. All the flavors melded together perfectly. The chicken was very tender, and it was not overly spicy.

At the end of the meal, I could not stop myself from ordering their homemade Thai tea mousse. It was absolutely divine. It was warm, sweet and rich—all qualities I like in desserts. Although the atmosphere was unconventional, the food was some of the best Thai food I have had, and the mixture of the two made for an unforgettable, enjoyable experience.

Other than the minor inconvenience of having one dish arrive significantly before the other, the service was impeccable. The servers were all friendly and courteous. They were attentive but not to the point of being annoying. My water glass was never empty.

I came to Sisters Living Room Café for excellent food in a charming setting, and I got what I was looking for. The price was pretty decent for what we got. With a coupon from the Campus Specials coupon book, we got our appetizer for half off. Including tip and tax, the total came to $20 each.

For those who are budget conscious but would still like to try this restaurant, I recommend that you visit on a weekday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. During that time period, you can enjoy the lunch special that includes a soup or appetizer and an entrée for only $7.50! They also offer both delivery and carryout services with free delivery within three miles, meaning that they can deliver to the Fairfax campus.

 If you would rather drive than walk or take the bus, there is a free parking lot just across the street from the restaurant. Sisters Living Room Café is the perfect place to go with that cutie you have been meaning to ask out on a date, or if your parents drop in unexpectedly and want to see what the town of Fairfax is like.

As for me, I fully intend on returning for the eclectic décor, the wonderful service and the excellent food.

To learn more about Sisters Living Room Café, check out their website at www.sistersthai.com.


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