Dusit Thai (2404 University) was our go-to Thai restaurant when we first moved to Wheaton, but then we discovered Ruan, and then Nava opened, and then we had two horrible experiences at Dusit (which I will never again mention starting…now). And we hadn’t been back for several years, until last night.
Tom kha gai (coconut soup with chicken) was good, decent spiciness, but seemed to be missing some undefinable flavor, or maybe just complexity of flavor, which didn’t stop us from finishing it all. Pad thai also good, the right flavors were all there; the shrimp were a bit overcooked and it was laced with slices of beef, which was fine with us but is non-standard and seems like the kind of thing you should opt into by request rather than have to opt out of — I’m sure you can get the pad thai without beef, but who would think to ask? That aside, Dusit’s pad thai measures up to Ruan or Suporn, but not to Nava’s, which continues as Wheaton if not World Champion (though I recognize that the Nava PT has a flavor balance, I think favoring tamarind in particular, that is also non-standard and totally works for me but not for everyone).
String beans in curry sauce with pork likewise tasted right but the textures were off: the beans were slightly overdone and lacked the snap of, say, Ruan’s superior version (aka pad prik khing), and the sauce, while tasty, was runny, too thin. The best dish of the night was stir fried crispy duck, rife with basil and meaty duck chunks, in flavorful sauce with a solid kick, every bit as good as Nava’s excellent version.
So overall, no question, Dusit has regained its footing. I wouldn’t hesistate to go there if someone said, hey, let’s go to Dusit. And if I didn’t know Nava or Ruan or Suporn existed, I would be thrilled indeed to have Dusit within walking distance. It is supercool that, at the moment, Wheaton is supporting four good-to-great Thai restaurants, and I hope that state of affairs persists for a long time. For my part, based on last night’s admittedly small sample size, I will be sticking with Nava in particular and Ruan secondarily for my Wheaton Thai dining adventures.
(And it is not just me — Mrs. Me gave dinner a B and thought all four dishes were fine but not quite Nava/Ruan quality)