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Viet Bistro
Comments () | Published October 18, 2006
Cheap Eats (2009)
Viet Bistro
Address: 6799 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church, VA 22044
Phone: 703-538-7575
Neighborhood: Falls Church
Cuisines: Vietnamese
Opening Hours: Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: N/A
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Roast quail; stir-fried rice; caramel pork ribs; stir-fried chicken with pickled cabbage; clay-pot rice dishes—especially number 143; Hue-style spicy soup.

June 2006 Cheap Eats

This Eden Center restaurant might give every impression of being a lounge--TV blaring above the long bar, smokers lingering at the black-lacquered tables like members of cafe society--but it turns out some of the most uncompromising food to be found in this sprawling plaza of 30-plus restaurants.

The staff isn't as practiced in the art of reaching out to a Western audience as the team at the crossover hit Huong Que (Four Sisters), which means there's no one to guide you through the multipage menu. It also means the staff is inclined to doubt your claims of being able to withstand the really spicy stuff.

Here, hot means hot. A plate of plump rings of squid arrives in a lemongrass sauce that will have you summoning your server for refills of water. Dishes not marked spicy still emit a gentle, insistent heat. Sweet, meaty frog's legs are coated in a yellow curry that sends waves of heat through your mouth. Baby clams are tossed in a hash full of rendered bits of bacon and a generous handful of diced chilies that cut the oiliness of the dish but also ignite it. Scoop it up with one of the puffy rice cakes studded with black-sesame seeds.

Just as the food hasn't been recalibrated to satisfy more timid palates, neither is it too sweet, the other common snare for many Asian restaurants. Caramel fish comes not with the cloying glaze one often encounters but with a light, amber-colored sauce shot through with pepper and vinegar, a fitting foil for its filets of catfish.

Appetizers $3.50 to $12.95, entrées $6.95 to $26.95.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Posted at 09:30 PM/ET, 10/18/2006 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews