Thai Square Restaurant | Arlington, VA

Chile-fueled dishes round out this Square

There's a standard formula for Thai takeout that often includes pad Thai, coconut soup and a spicy curry.

But while most restaurants serve formulaic renditions, Thai Square has created different expectations, playing with spices and textures to create deeply flavorful answers to mundane Thai dishes.

Though Thai Square offers its own elevated versions of spring rolls and sauté skewers, diners should start with Sun-Dried Beef ($9.50). The nutty tendrils of marinated meat are deep-fried and served with robust chile sauce. The Belgians may have cornered the mussels market, but Potpourri Mussels ($9) rival moules marinière in their clay pot of sharp lemongrass-infused broth.

Searingly spicy Country-Style Curry ($11) omits the coconut milk that often weighs down Thai curries. Instead, curls of chicken swim in a chile-singed broth with basil, tender Thai eggplant, bamboo shoots and snappy string beans.

Crispy Squid ($15) is flash-fried for texture, then tossed with honey, hot chiles and garlic. Fried basil leaves add a paper-thin layer of snap.

Though the space was recently refurbished, the dining room is far from the most charming. We recommend carrying out, then feasting at home with an icy IPA or a glass of mineral-rich wine.

Thai Square, 3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington; 703-685-7040 or