The next stop on the U St. tour takes us DC Noodles a Thai inspired restaurant brought to you by the owners of Rice on 14th St.. DC Noodles sits on the famous intersection of 14th and U St. across the street from the Reeves center and offers it's patrons a variety of Thai dishes.
While the name may be a bit odd mainly because Thailand is not the mecca of noodles you can rest assure that the noodles they do incorporate bring a level of flavor that is unique to the neighborhood. Before venturing to this establishment my only experience with Thai food was limited to Pad Thai (hasn't everyone had it) and pineapple fried rice.
While I am interested in Thai food my limited exposure to it is mainly the result of my lack of knowledge and shyness toward diving into the culture. I first ventured here about a year and a half ago because their dishes intrigued me. I invited a small group of friends to dine here on a Saturday night. The place was at capacity when we entered but were able to snag a table within 5 minutes without a reservation.
The interior design is a consists of chic post-modern furniture with an Asian backdrop. The restaurant is the ground floor of a gutted out house so to say it can be characterized as cozy by a real estate agent (Simpsons reference). Our party was seated next to the interesting wall art you see below you.
It was a peak hour for dining so our experience was altered by the "cozy" factor as well as the fact that our table was not suited for the number of people sitting on it. We started off with an order of crispy spring rolls and pumpkin empanadas. The egg rolls were your run of the mill average roll which didn't wow or disappoint. The empanadas on the other hand were very interesting, I did enjoy them even though I am not the biggest fan of pumpkin.
I then ordered the drunken noodles which are accompanied with squid ink spaghetti. On the spectrum of outlandish dishes that I have sampled this has to be near the top. In fact trying this dish was what originally drew me to this establishment. It came in are very large bowl which comprised of a liberal mixture of seafood.
The dish itself tasted great, the squid ink noodles offered a very unique taste which is difficult to describe and the ingredients blended well. I have since ordered this dish an number of other times and is probably my favorite on the menu.
(Drunken Squid Ink Spaghetti)
On my other visits I have delved into their soups. As you may have already noticed soup is one of my favorite dishes which I enjoy year round. I stick mainly to their noodles in a spicy broth because I enjoy my soups on the spicy side. Each bowl comes of a topping of your choice. I have tried both their Vietnamese pork sausage and fish meatball, the latter of which I prefer.
The broth consists of peanuts, chili pepper, carrots, cilantro and bean sprouts. The flavors blend well with each other but the tiny hints of peanut are a little much for me, especially since I am not particularly fond of this ingredient. The soup itself is presented in a gigantic bowl which scores extra points for me. The broth itself is not hot enough for my palate so I always ask for their spice rack which ends up doing the job.
(Spicy Vietnamese Pork Sausage Soup)
While I do enjoy their soups, the fact that they incorporate peanuts turns me off. I am well aware that peanuts are incorporated in a number of Thai which is why I prefer Vietnamese and Japanese soups. I do love their noodle dishes and am intrigued to try their coconut curry dishes in the near future.
All in all this place satisfies my taste. The food is good, the prices are reasonable and the service is on par. The place is small so if you enjoy a relaxed atmosphere I would go during an off hour. If you are a fan of Thai food then this place is worth a try, the wait isn't long and their portions are large enough you are sure to leave very full.