Cheap Eats 2011: Burma Road

“Soup and salad” is often regarded in penitential terms–what you order if you’re counting calories. But here the combo amounts to a mini-feast. You could walk out the door happy if you order nothing else.

The Burmese regard salad-making as an art, and while the best of these salads–whether a version with pickled tea leaves or one featuring shredded green mango–may look like nothing so much as coleslaw, they’re intricately layered creations, alive with crunch and tang and heat. The soups–such as the mohingar, a fish broth shot through with ginger and lime, or a creamy coconut-chicken soup–are as rib-sticking as stews.

The kitchen excels across the board. Its noodle dishes, stir-fries, and curries are amply rewarding. Bypass the separate Chinese menu–a sop to the less adventurous–and don’t bother sticking around for dessert, which features a disappointingly crumbly version of shweji, the coconut-custard cake that Burmese home cooks trot out for special occasions.

Also good: Ginger salad; green-papaya salad; rice noodles with chicken and chili sauce; spicy pork with pickled mango.

Open daily 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.