Trying a new restaurant in DC is like rolling a pair of dice. You never know how it’s going to turn out. On this particular Wednesday night, I had plans with my buddy Ryan for dinner. Later on in the night, we had plans to go to one of those “I’m over DC and moving elsewhere, goodbye” happy hours on U Street. Ryan asked me to pick a place for dinner.
I hate picking restaurants I’ve never been to, and I never go to U Street. We agreed on Thai, so I Googled “Thai, DC” and up popped DC Noodles, on 14th and U, across the street from the happy hour. With a “Good Luck” text message from D*MNGOOD®’s very own Mark Minicucci (sigh), I ventured off into uncharted territory.
We walked into DC Noodles around 8:30 PM. It was busy, especially for a Wednesday night. You could hear a constant buzz of conversation from the tables. The restaurant is trendy: modern tables, graffiti artwork on the walls, and bold colors. The dimly lit dining area is illuminated by individual candles on each table. DC Noodles would make a great place for a date.
We’re seated by the hostess and begin examining the menu. Other than the appetizers, everything on the menu is noodles or noodle soups similar to Pho, but Thai-inspired. This makes sense, seeing as how the place is called DC Noodles. On the back of the one-page menu is the drink menu – specialty cocktails, a large array of martini flavors, beers and wines.
Lately, I’ve been on this spicy cocktail kick, and I see the “Tom Yum Martini (spicy)” under specialty drinks. I’m torn between that and a “Green Tea Martini.” Engrossed in the drink menu and trying to make a decision, I’m caught off guard when our waiter is standing above our table. I look up from the menu, and I’m really caught off guard. Our waiter is gorgeous. He’s about 6’ 2″, Latin, dimpled and perfectly chiseled like a Michelangelo sculpture. This man could give Enrique a run for his money. He’s as helpful as he is attractive.
He describes the Tom Yum as a spicy chili flavor with hints of lemongrass. He sells it so well that Ryan orders one as well. It comes in a stemless 8-oz martini glass, garnished with a lime and a chili pepper. The 9 bucks per drink is pretty standard for a specialty cocktail. The martini is amazing. One of the better drinks I’ve ever had. It’s warm, sweet and spicy – without being overpowering. A solid 9 out of 10. D*MNEXCELLENT.
For appetizers, we order pumpkin empanadas, decently priced at $5. They come out quickly. There’s two on a plate, a perfect appetizer size. The dough is flaky and golden. The filling is spiced with curry, giving the pumpkin a savory flavor rather than the usual sweetness of cinnamon and nutmeg. It comes with a liquid dipping sauce that we couldn’t quite decipher, other than it had a bit of honey for sweetness. All in all, creative and very tasty.
For our entrées, I order the Noodles Salad, and Ryan orders the Pad See Eew with chicken. Both dishes come out right as we finish the appetizers. They are served in large white bowls with the same beet-and-carrot-strings garnish as the appetizer. At $12 an entrée, dinner is reasonably priced. The Noodles Salad comes with your choice of noodles. I ordered the wide-rice noodles upon the suggestion of our Latin god waiter.
The noodles come out warm and are closer to pad thai than a salad. The dressing/sauce is very fresh; soy and lime with lots of peanuts. The dish is full cilantro, carrots, and spring onions. If you like the taste of cilantro, you will like this dish. Ryan’s Pad See Eew is the standard Thai dish. It could have used some more Chinese broccoli, but both dishes are satisfying.
Ryan orders another Tom Yum, and I decide to try the Green Tea Martini. I really wish that I hadn’t. It comes out bright green, like the color of those Odwalla Superfood drinks. The worst part: it tastes like a strong vodka lemon drop with a slight hint of green tea ice cream that lingers on your palet. Not at all for which I was hoping.
As a matter of fact, it was impossible to drink. I declined our sexy waiter’s offer to replace the drink with something else when he came by to check if I liked it. Despite the awful cocktail at the end of the meal, it was a rather pleasant dining experience. I think both Ryan and I will come back … Especially if Enrique is waiting on my table again.
Food : 7.5
Service: A perfect 10
|Address:||1410 U St., NW Washington, DC 20009|
|Serves:||Lunch (Daily); Dinner (Daily)|
|Specials:||No happy hour yet. Keep checking back|