Thanks to a reader, I learned about DanSavann Laos Cafe, a Laotian restaurant next to the Olney station. It is a pretty large space (good for parties!), run by a friendly family who is not about dumbing down their food for lesser palates and stomachs (even I got KO'ed!). I sadly had to skip stopping in Laos during my South East Asia trip this summer and DanSavann gave me a taste of what I missed.
To start, a gorgeous Thai iced tea to beat the heat along with some snappy and vibrant Laotian sausages and beef jerky (I prefer Ratchada's dryer version).
Duck laab was INTENSE. This is not some Americanized version, instead, a spicy mix of meat, chopped innards, and herbs is laid unassumingly on the plate next to lettuce leaves. I was out-offalled here, but don't let that stop you if you have a taste for organs.
From the specials board, stuffed squid caught our eye. Lightly cooked squid, no frying or breading here, stuffed with ground pork and glass noodles gave me a good sense of a kitchen that knows what its doing.
Though the menu isn't large, you can count on temptations from the special board like this squid, specials salads, and Lao specialities like nam khao. There are so many more dishes I need to try at the Cafe (spring roll, soups, noodles, and that nam khao if I see it again) and I will be back with a bigger group.
DanSavann Laos Cafe, 5419 N Mascher St, 215 927-1417