Gone are the nautical maps and oyster platters of Blackbyrd Warehouse, the former concept at 2005 14th Street from Eric and Ian Hilton. After a little more than a year, the masters of U Street nightlife have recreated the space adjoining sister bars the Gibson and Marvin, debuting a new concept that combines steaming bowls of Vietnamese pho with potent cocktails. Here are four things to expect.
The entire concept was inspired by Marvin’s executive chef, James Claudio, whose Vietnamese grandmother, Lap, taught him recipes and cooking techniques from her native country. You’ll find favorites like crispy rolls stuffed with pork and shrimp, brisket- and meatball-laden pho, a bánh mì variation, and grilled lemongrass beef atop a pile of herbs and vermicelli noodles. A plus for vegetarians: In addition to classic bánh xeo, a shrimp-filled crepe, you’ll find a version with tofu and shiitake mushrooms.
We’re used to slurping pho in the no-frills eateries of Eden Center, so it’s an interesting change of pace to eat the noodle soup amid draped velvet curtains, handpainted Vietnamese wall art, and lacquered black tables set against bright red chairs. There’s also an eclectic array of glowing lamps.
Gibson bartender Brendan Murphy is behind the drink list, and riffs on traditional Vietnamese flavors with sips like the Arvin Rifle, a take on a sweet Vietnamese latte spiked with brandy. Not a coffee fiend? Try one of the tea-based cocktails, or a tiki-esque drink such as the juicy Singapore Sling Redux.
When we think pho, we don’t tend to think booking ahead (though wouldn’t mind that option at packed places like Pho 75). Though many seats are set aside for walk-in customers, you can also reserve ahead of time to guarantee elbow room.
Hanoi House. 2005 14th St., NW; 202-747-2377. Open daily at 5:30 PM.