Cheap Eats 2011: Minh’s

“I’d rather go here than Citronelle,” said one of the more particular diners in our party. It might seem like comparing apples and oranges, but it’s easy to see why praise for this Vietnamese dining room is so enthusiastic. The kitchen gets many things right, whether it’s perfectly greaseless yam-and-shrimp cakes from the fryer, beautifully glazed pork skewers off the grill, or well-balanced salads. Bowls of vermicelli bun (get the grilled pork) are done especially well, and the caramel pots are restrained when it comes to sweetness. Freshness abounds and is evident in everything from the plates of herbs–cilantro, mint, and Thai basil–that accompany many dishes to the just-squeezed lime sodas. Steer clear of the pho and the more Chinese-sounding stir-fries, such as tofu and mushrooms in brown sauce.

Also good: Spring and summer rolls; shaky beef with lime-pepper dipping sauce; five-spice chicken; lemongrass chicken; bánh xèo, a half-moon crepe; Vietnamese coffee.

Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.

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 Petworth.