A friend of mine startled me with a surprise visit so we headed over to doi moi to see if we could snag a seat. This restaurant serves Southeast Asian cuisine, specifically from Thailand and Vietnam. It is headed up by Executive Chef Haidar Karoum, who also heads up Proof and Estadio. As this restaurant does not take reservations after 6 p.m., we were hoping for less than a 30-minute wait.
Our wishes were granted! They told me I'd have a 20-40 minute wait, then came back 5 minutes later and said they'd seat us. Spectacular! I remember the cocktails having been very good the last time I went so I decided to try the Lion's Tail. This mix of bourbon, all-spice dram, lime and angostura bitters definitely hit the spot.
One of my favorite things about this restaurant is that they have separated all vegan dishes onto a vegan menu. But, what's funny is that they didn't exactly get it all right. The menu specifies vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free. But, some items on the vegan menu are not on the vegetarian menu. Well, sir, I have to tell you, if it is vegan, it is vegetarian. When I mentioned this to the server, she said I wasn't the first to point this out.
I was surprised that many of the same dishes that I had eaten years before were still on the menu. This doesn't give me much opportunity to write about new things, but I did my best and ordered two new items and one old favorite.
The first to arrive was my old favorite -- the Gaeng Par Hed or housemade tofu and wild mushroom curry. This super spicy mix of snake beans, cauliflower, carrots, peas, eggplant, mushrooms, and tofu was in an amazing curry with a strong ginger taste. It was incredibly flavorful and was the table favorite.
Another one I really enjoyed was the Larb Tao Hoo or spicy tofu salad. The tofu in this dish was very different than the other dish as it was cut into tiny pieces and fried to a crisp on the outside while remaining soft on the inside giving it a delightful texture. Then, it was tossed in a lots of fresh mint and cilantro with sauteed shallots and coated in a soy-lime dressing. Delish.
Finally, I tried another new dish called the Kee Mao or stir-fried rice noodles. This dish had thick gooey rice noodles with long beans, Chinese broccoli, carrots, snow peas, basil and trumpet mushrooms. The only thing I didn't love about this dish was that it was super super oily.
The restaurant was packed on this Friday night and service was a little slow. But, me and my friend were so engulfed in conversation that we barely noticed. They recommend two to three plates for a table of two, but we ordered four anyway. It was too much, but it gave me leftovers to take home and I got to try a variety of dishes. At $10 to $15 per dish, you probably don't want to order more than that. All in all, it was a good experience with great food and the vegan menu is like icing on the cake.
December 17, 2013
1800 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009