100 Best Restaurants 2010: Minh’s

No. 62: Minh's

Cuisine: To judge by the inclusive menu at this East Coast outpost of the Nguyen family’s popular San Jose restaurant empire, this is one of the area’s preeminent destinations for Vietnamese cooking. Both northern and southern dishes are given their due—as are budget-minded diners: No entrée is more than $17.

Mood: The expansive dining room tempers its office-building locale with white tablecloths and soothing red walls. Although large groups are often the norm, the space retains its calm, Zen-like energy.

Best for: A good introduction to Vietnamese food, and the menu is broad enough to include something for just about every taste and sensibility.

Best dishes: Luscious pork vermicelli, both northern (saltier) and southern (sweeter); banh xeo, an oversize, web-like crepe with bean sprouts, shrimp, and pork; fried shrimp-and-yam patties; a fragrant, dill-laced catfish, to be broken into hunks and folded into giant leaves of lettuce; a clay pot bubbling with a sweet/peppery caramel sauce and bits of catfish; chicken, tart with lemongrass and covered in red-pepper flakes.

Insider tips: Bring a large group—most dishes are served family style and can feed several.

Service: •••

Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.

See all of 2010's 100 Best Restaurants 

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.