In September 1983 Thai Derm opened its doors to downtown Silver Spring. I however, was not in the area. I was making my first ill-fated attempt at college. For others, who's to say. You might have been cruising down the Avenue rocking out to top songs of the day such as Electric Avenue by Eddie Grant (can you say one-hit wonder) or perhaps Down Under by Men at Work. And deny it all you want, you know you were.
And just in case I lose you, I'll alert you now that for 2 more weeks - to celebrate their 25th anniversary - TD is offering a 15% discount. Click here for the discount. But you only have till the end of the month. Take advantage of it!
Now I'll continue. I would have to think that back in 1983 a Thai restaurant in SS must have been pretty exotic. I'm not sure what else was around the 'hood at that time, but I'm guessing TD might have been the only place serving Asian food. I know the Quarry House was around then, and of course Crisfield, but what else, maybe Vicino? I am confident the area I now call SoCo is a hell of a lot different than it was in 1983.
Enough reminiscing, let's focus on one of my favorite places in the area - Thai Derm. Now anyone who knows TD knows it's nothing fancy. But that should not be a deterrent from you dining there. On almost every occasion eating at TD I have left quite satisfied - and full. TD is a family-run restaurant run by the Thumprasert family. They have a varied menu and daily specials. The small staff they employ are very nice - although not always with a firm grasp of English - and their prices are quite reasonable.
Here's one example of the low prices. While I really like Mandalay, located directly across the street from TD, if I wanted a Singha there, it costs me $5.50 (not positive on that, but I'm pretty sure). However at TD I can get the same Thai beer for $3.75. What's up with that? Due to this highway robbery, I now drink Yuengling at Mandalay. OK, enough about my beer consumption.
Let's get back to the TD food. Now since I'm a pretty selective meat eater, I cannot comment on all their dishes, but I can comment on quite a number of vegetarian and fish dishes. To start, I do love the fried tofu. It comes out nice and crispy and served with a kinda sweet n sour sauce topped with peanuts. It's good! The spring rolls are good too, but pretty basic. And in the colder months the lemongrass and coconut milk soup is wonderful - subbing shrimp for the chicken. The lemongrass and coconut combine to make a wonderful flavor.
On the noodle side, of course their Pad Thai is good, but c'mon, be more adventurous. Maybe try the Pad Zie Eiew (thicker noodles) or maybe #19, a noodle soup dish. I've been getting that lately with tofu instead of pork. It's a spicy one. Some of my other faves include the #63, spicy seafood. You need to dig coconut milk if you wanna order this one. Number 55 is also a good one, but of course for me , tofu not chicken. On almost any dish they serve at TD you can swap out meat for tofu - so it really expands your vegetarian choices.
Also check the special board - there's usually 3 per night. And if you go on a Friday, the deep fried whole fish is a great dish. It's kind of unusual, but the times I've had it, it has been really good. And if you like things spicy, ask for the spice tray. There are 4 spices on there and they will definitely increase your dish's temperature! But watch out, some dishes come laced with jalapenos and they come out of the kitchen smokin.
I'm not much of a dessert eater, but their ice cream coconut dish is a nice way to finish off a meal. That is, if you have room. And since I always eat mine and typically part of my wife's dinner, I almost never have room.
OK, maybe I'll see you there. If a couple sits down and one of the servers runs over with a Thai beer - often without prompting, you gotta love that - you've spotted me.