Tuesday, September 23, 2014

DC Noodles

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Originally designed to offer an Asian fusion menu, DC Noodles is an authentic Thai restaurant that blends a sophisticated menu with a neighborhood attitude and a community spirit.  The menu offers noodles in a variety of ways: as part of a sizzling stir-fry, a spicy soup, or in a zesty salad.  After a year and a half of being closing for construction, the restaurant re-opened in December 2013, and we were invited to check out the new menu by Chef Zatang.  Closest Metro is U Street.

Left: Chili-Rita; Right: Monsoon
We were greeted by the manager, Sak, who was incredibly hospitable the whole night.  He explained how the restaurant has not really done much media promotions, and realized that majority of people still thought they were closed.  He stated that a simple Google search would only report about the restaurant's closing in early 2013.  Thus, he invited some bloggers and other media to check out the menu.  Though he insisted we need not write any official reviews, I wanted to write up something to help create some new buzz.  We sat in the back room that features a large lychee tree root sculpture on the wall, and provides a great space for private events.  We started out with some new cocktails - the crowd favorites included a spicy Chili-Rita, and my personal favorite, the Monsoon made with rum and lychee.  We also tried a Mango-Rita and a Chili-jito made with Thai chili pepper-infused rum, brown sugar syrup, mint, and lime juice.  It was Sak's favorite cocktail, but a little too spicy for me.

We started with a sampler platter of various dumplings including the Seafood Gyoza with pickled ginger and a Szechuan chili balsamic dipping sauce; Seaweed Rolls filled with seasoned shrimp and pork, wrapped in nori and crispy tofu skins, served with candied ginger and soy sauce; and Chicken & Shrimp Dumplings with toasted sesame seeds and edamame puree.

We also sampled Fried Mushroom & Ricotta Wontons and Inari stuffed with chicken.  The wontons were a surprise, as they are non-traditional Asian flavors.  The savory combination tasted great with our cocktails.

Next, we sampled a popular Happy Hour menu item - the Sriracha Chicken Wings.  The sauce was a tangy balance of spicy and sweet.  I'm normally not a fan of chicken wings, but these were very tasty.

Soups were next, and my favorite was the Clear Broth Noodle Soup with Tofu.  The light citrus-soy broth was so fragrant and a lovely twist on the traditional miso soup.  I also enjoyed the 5 Spice Duck Noodle Soup with egg noodles, celery, broccoli, and a soy broth.  The duck added a richness to the broth that was comforting.  Keith enjoyed the Burmese Kao Soi - beef with egg noodles in a turmeric and cumin scented curry, with onion and pickles.  It was nice seasonal dish to have during this Fall weather.

Another savory noodle dish that was loaded with great flavor was the Grilled Chicken Thai Basil Pesto made with spaghettini, mushroom, tomatoes, and serrano puree which added a subtle heat undertone to the noodles.  I could have eaten a whole bowl of this phenomenal dish.

We also sampled a classic - Shrimp Pad Thai.  They use the original recipe with Chinese chives, roasted peanut, and egg.  It was cooked perfectly and was a very familiar dish.  While I polished this plate clean, Keith devoured one of their newer items - Stir Fry Beef Ragu made with wide rice noodles, tomato-turmeric soy, Thai serrano vinaigrette, and egg.  It was his favorite dish of the night.

When we thought we were noodle'd out - two more dishes arrived.  A bright and tangy Chicken with Vietnamese Noodles and a Cold Soba with Shrimp Tempura.  Both were fantastic and I would easily order them again. 

Finally, for dessert we tried two new items not yet on the menu - Young Coconut Ice Cream Sandwiches and Fried Bananas Stuffed with Brie, served with chocolate and caramel sauces.  The sandwiches were quite literal, served on a slice of white bread.  The fried bananas were amazing, and the crowd highly encouraged they be added to the menu right away!

In the end, we had a great meal full of noodles and more at DC Noodles.  The flavors were fresh, bright, and colorful, which was echoed by both the service and the decor.  We really enjoyed all the food and could easily understand how this place is a neighborhood favorite.  The cocktails were pretty special, too.

Total Rating: 4.38
Food: 4.5, Price: 4.5, Service: 4, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5
What Micky Eats...

What I ate:
Chicken & Shrimp Dumpling
toasted sesame seeds, edamame puree 

Seafood Gyoza
pickled ginger, szechuan chili balsamic

Seaweed Rolls
seasoned shrimp & pork, nori, crispy tofu skins, candied ginger, soy sauce

Fried Mushroom & Ricotta Wontons


Sriracha Chicken Wings

Tofu Clear Broth Noodle Soup
light citrus-soy

5 Spice Duck Noodle Soup
egg noodles, celery, broccoli, soy broth 

Shrimp Pad Thai
original recipe, Chinese chives, roasted peanut, egg

Grilled Chicken Thai Basil Pesto
spaghettini, mushroom, tomatoes, serrano puree

Chicken with Vietnamese Noodles

Cold Soba with Shrimp Tempura

Young Coconut Ice Cream Sandwiches

Fried Bananas Stuffed with Brie
served with chocolate and caramel sauces

Plus Keith ate:
Burmese Kao Soi
beef with egg noodles, turmeric & cumin scented curry, onion, pickles

Stir Fry Beef Ragu
rice noodle, tomato-turmeric soy, Thai serrano vinaigrette, egg

DC Noodles on Urbanspoon

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