100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Rice Paper

Charred beef-stuffed grape leaves with rice paper wrap. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way, shall we? The dining room is cramped when it’s busy, which is almost always, and service is iffy. Still, the rewards—in the form of a bubbling clay pot of juicy caramel pork ribs or a bowl of grilled, beef-stuffed grape leaves—are ample. The menu, in its bid to encompass the cooking of every major region of Vietnam, can be daunting (19 pages!) but the kitchen is well versed in every category and classic dishes are rendered with the same care as more modern interpretations, such as spare ribs perfumed with lemongrass and roasted to a burnished red.

Open: Daily for lunch and dinner.

Don’t Miss: Vermicelli with grilled pork, shrimp, and fresh herbs; bun cha, vermicelli with lemongrass-marinated pork, crushed peanuts, and fish sauce; baked chicken with yellow rice; fried tofu with lemongrass; deep-fried “rocket shrimp”; fresh-squeezed lemonade with club soda; iced Vietnamese coffee.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.