Thursday, September 10, 2009

DC Noodles

As fall descends upon DC and college football season kicks into high gear, we resume our Saturday tradition of grabbing a bite to eat with our old friend from college and watching our UCLA Bruins play on some obscure cable channel at some ungodly hour (love that 3 hour time difference). For the first game, we asked our friend to pick a place for dinner and he suggested DC Noodles.

DC Noodles is located on U Street and was formerly known as Simply Home, a combo thai restaurant and home furnishings store. Over the winter, the owners closed Simply Home and reimagined the space into a noodle house (and fashion accessories store next door).

The decor is minimalist and modern (note the curved water glass in the photo below) and the menu is divided into Starters, Noodles from the Wok, Noodles Salad, Noodles in Soup (Clear, Spicy, or Soy soup), Noodles in Coconut Curry, and a small assortment of "special" noodle and dumpling dishes.

We started off with the Thai Iced Tea (above) and the Pumpkin Empanadas (below). The iced tea was a perfect balance of creamy sweetness and bitter black tea. I'm glad we shared the drink because it is a lot of condensed milk for one person to have with a meal.

We love empanadas, Julia's empanadas in particular, so had to try the pumpkin version at DC Noodles. The crust was flaky, very pastry-like, and the pumpkin filling was very sweet. The tangy dipping sauce offset the sweetness somewhat, but it still felt more like dessert than an appetizer. Depending on your fondness for dessert, this could be an excellent thing.

I adore noodle dishes so I had a hard time deciding what to order. Honestly, I looked up the menu in the morning and thought about it all day long. I finally settled on the Drunken Noodles with chicken. I wanted something spicy and that featured the wide, flat noodles that I love so much. Normally I'd order this dish with tofu but the waitress said it was crispy tofu and I'm a bigger fan of soft, unadulterated tofu. The chicken was a fine substitute and really absorbed the spicy flavors of the dish. This isn't a dish for the spice-averse as it featured sliced jalapenos that gave it a delicious kick.

B asked the waitress to recommend her favorite dish (do you see a trend developing with him?) and she suggested the Green Curry with Shrimp. The curry was served with mixed veggies atop squid ink spaghetti. The jet black pasta helped this dish to soar above and beyond the run-of-the-mill green curry you can get at any Thai place. (Time Out, Zack Morris Style: did you ever notice that Thai places often have the cheesiest names. Thaitanic or Thaiphoon anyone? Ok Time In...) The creamy coconut milk curry was jazzed up with the right amount of spice and was a great texture contrast to the firmer squid ink pasta. We also liked that the dishes were served in giant bowls. Something about eating dinner out of a huge bowl makes me happy.

Second Thoughts From B

Don't you just hate it when your wife is always right about things? She pretty much nailed the description of our experience at DC Noodles, leaving me very little to add. Big portions, great selection, and fresh noodles to fill your stomach and soothe the soul. Ok, that may be hyperbole but this is our type of comfort food.

If the two dishes described here are any indication, I don't know that you'll discover any new flavors that you couldn't find at a number of other Asian noodle places around town. If anything, the sauces tended to be a little on the sweet side of things (we should have known after the emps - not that I'm complaining). However, the noodle textures were particularly noteworthy, which seems appropriate for a place called DC Noodles. The prices were indicative of freshly made ingredients and a chic interior in a cool part of town... that is, they were a tad on the pricey side (entrees $10-14). But what's an extra dollar or two for noodles served in bowls that are so big they could double for a motorcycle helmet?
DC Noodles on Urbanspoon


jennifer said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Karena said...

That squid ink spaghetti sounds fantastic...and reasonably priced!