Cheap Eats 2011: Viet Taste

The setting is a lure–oversize hanging lanterns lend the room a lush, tropical air–but it’s the cooking that lingers in the mind long after you’ve left this newcomer to the Eden Center, the hub of Vietnamese expat life in the area, with more than 30 restaurants, cafes, and bakeries. The kitchen seems bent on hitting all the pleasure centers of the palate at once, which results in food of spiky intensities, full of punch and tang–whether a perfectly roasted quail (dip the bits of dark meat into a mix of lime juice, black pepper, and salt), a savory hash of chopped baby clams and pork, or a clay pot of intensely flavored caramel pork.

Also good: Fresh grilled pork rolls; sweet-and-sour soup; Vietnamese crispy bean crepe; bun with grilled shrimp, pork, spring rolls, and shrimp cakes.

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.