You know from the moment you sit down at Sisters Thai that presentation is of paramount importance to the owners, Tammie Disayawathana and her husband, Jaturon Srirote. The front dining room of the restaurant—which opened in July at Cabin John Village in Potomac—feels like the vaguely English country-themed den you might find at a large home down the road. The decor includes wood paneling painted mint green, parquet floors, banquettes that resemble window seats, and built-in shelves loaded with books and bric-a-brac (a model of an old schooner, vintage potato chip tins, a fire truck, Transformers, a painting of a horse in a dell, old clocks—you get the picture). A back dining room includes a mini version of another Disayawathana business, Magnolia Dessert Bar and Coffee, which showcases enormous confections designed to make you take a photo and post.
“We wanted the quality of the atmosphere to match the quality of the food,” Disayawathana says. “My mission is to have customers come in happy and leave happy.” Sucha Khamsuwan from Studio Ideya in Fairfax designed Sisters Thai, as well as its sister properties in Virginia, Sisters Living Room Café in Fairfax, Sisters Ordinary Café in the Mosaic District, Magnolia Dessert Bar and Coffee in Vienna and Chai-Yo Dessert in Centreville.
Thought has gone into every aspect of the experience at Sisters Thai, which seats 60 outside and 35 inside. The menu is a four-page mock newspaper called The Sisters Daily. The front page cleverly relays pertinent information (email address, hours of operation, other locations, a menu table of contents and some favorable clips); other pages clearly lay out menu offerings in large type. Craft cocktails get the same treatment here as they do in the trendiest lounges, down to the mini clothespin attaching a dried lemon wheel to the side of a coupe containing your B.V. Martini made with Tanqueray gin, Tito’s vodka, Lillet Blanc and butterfly tea, which colors the libation violet. Excellent shumai pork and shrimp dumplings are served in an elaborate brass vessel, one dumpling in each of six wells. They are wrapped in green wonton skins instead of the plain ones usually used for them, adding to their decorative appeal.
Disayawathana immigrated to the United States from Bangkok in 1996. She met Srirote, who is also Thai, in 2000 when they were both working at a Thai restaurant in Arlington. They married in 2006, and she went to work for the Hyatt Regency in Reston in catering and in their front office, working toward her dream of opening her own restaurant, which she achieved in 2013.