Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oodles of Noodles

These are scary times, the kind that inspire people to dare and endure. With all due respect to Mr. Churchill, comfort is not an alternative, but rather a necessity. I met M. for dinner, and our combined requirements where a U street location and a lot of heat, in both temperature and spice. DC Noodles, a funky eatery with a noodle-centric menu is a great alternative for people who love strips or strings of unleavened dough, but don't want to commit to a particular Asian cuisine.

The locale is impossibly bright - one red wall, one white wall, and a black bar. The white, red and black palette plays throughout in the menus and flatware. The music is on at full blast: as long as you are in a two-top and don't mind casual bouts of yelling, you'll be fine.

Most of the entrees are $12 (with a $2 surcharge for shrimp or seafood) and are divided into wok, salad, clear soup, spiciy soup, soy soup, coconut curry and special noodles and dumplings - a veritable tour of Far East Asian cuisines. The dumpling selection is limited, but there are plenty of bowl offerings served hot, cold, in a soup or in a curry. Most dishes let you chooese between wide or thin rice noodles (vermicelli, similar to the one used in ramen or Pho) and egg noodles (hefen, used in chow fun). The portions are plentiful - you could try to take some home (I meant to!) or otherwise have a good, hearty meal. M. had the noodles in soy soup, wide rice noodles (very similar to Udon at a Japanese restaurant) with Chinese broccoli, bean sprouts, carrots, cilantro, spring onion and celery with chicken. I ordered the thin rice noodles in spicy soup with beef and meatball. The soup itself reminded me of the spicy peanut soup from they serve at Breadline on Tuesdays. The meatballs were small but plentiful, and the base had the consistency of porridge (bolstered by the texture of ground peanuts, incorporated into the soup). The chili pepper gave it a noticeable heat that concentrated on my throat - the noodles were firm but not overcooked, and the cilantro and spring onion brightened the dish. The garnish added great color contrast, and was quite tasty.

The full bar at DC Noodles offers several cocktail options and the usual wines by the glass, but M. and I stuck to sweet sake, served at room temperature (plum wine is also available). Desserts are not on the menu (I do not know if this is because the kitchen changes them daily, or they hadn't come up with them when the menus were printed). Our choices were mango with sticky rice and black sticky rice with coconut ice cream. If you like the coconut ice cream at Bangkok Joe's, you'll like this dessert, but what really sets it apart is the color - it evokes the scheme of the place (without changing the flavor) and the ice cream has the great meat and texture of an actual coconut.

A place after my own heart, and a wonderful addition to U Street.

(Editor's note: I did not have my trusty Lumix at hand and had to rely on my cell phone camera, hence the fuzzy pictures)

DC Noodles
1410 U Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
view menu

DC Noodles on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Capital Spice said...

Fun restaurant concept. It sounds so nice for cold weather I'm almost sorry it is springtime. Almost.