WHERE: 1800 14th St NW
WHEN TO GO: Weekday Dinner
WHAT TO GET: Bún Bò Xào – Stir Fried Lemongrass Beef on Vermicelli Noodles
Since Fall 2013, the DC circle of restauranteurs have been setting us up for a delicious table hopping Summer on 14th street. After a few failed attempts due to long wait times, I finally made it to Southeast Asian eatery, Doi Moi. Owner Mark Kuller and chef Haidar Karoum (also the minds behind Proof and Estadio) created Doi Moi to attract both Hill Politicos and their U St Corridor neighbors. Impeccable attention to detail in flavor, presentation, and service elevate the otherwise generally casual cuisine.
Doi Moi– which apparently means new change in Vietnamese– certainly offers a welcomed contrast to its surroundings. Floor to ceiling glass panels brighten up the corner with a backdrop of creamy white walls and open kitchen. More importantly, chef Karoum’s menu shines through thanks to robust Thai and Vietnamese staples of purple basil, mint, cilantro, lemongrass, and green peppercorn to name a few. Don’t expect portions as generous as neighboring Thai hotspots, Sala Thai and Rice. Plating at Doi Moi will encourage you to appreciate every bite of creativity. In fact, the Ped Kapow Grop – Crispy Duck Confit with Chili-Basil Sauce off their Share menu is too succulent to divide. If your appetite is leaning on the side of famished, try the Bún Bò Xào – Stir Fried Lemongrass Beef on Vermicelli Noodles. The jist of it is perfectly medium rare tenderloin tossed with holy basil, peanuts, shredded carrots and a light sauce atop lukewarm vermicelli noodles. Take my word for it–it’s delish.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out Doi Moi’s basement little sister of a bar, 2 Birds 1 Stone. Although not quite a speakeasy, it checks the box for cool and discrete. Bar manager Adam Bernbach even feeds our need to feel special by curating a new cocktail menu on a weekly basis. I’ll take it.