Tag Archive for Asian

Re: Maketto at Hanoi House

Pig's blood cake

Pig’s blood cake

I’m back, baby! As summer winds down, I’m back with a new post about the latest pop-up restaurant, Maketto  (at Hanoi House).  Chef/Owner Erik Bruner-Yang, also of Toki Underground, and his crew have been testing out dishes at Hanoi House to see which will be featured on Maketto’s menu once the restaurant opens in its permanent location — somewhere on H Street NE — later this year.  In that regard, let’s call this post an open letter to the chef, containing my views on which dishes I think are keepers and which seriously need to be reconsidered.

The Maketto pop-up offers a pre-fixe menu ($30) of dishes served family style.  Diners may order additional dishes a la carte ($2 each) via the roving dim sum cart.

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Mala Tang’s hot-pot love


Interactive, fun, and tasty describe my recent trip to Mala Tang for some hot-pot love.  If you don’t like the idea of cooking your own food or taking your time eating it, Mala Tang is not the place for you.  The restaurant’s real charm is in allowing its diners to catch up with their dining companions in a casual setting while eating at their own pace and getting creative with their food.  The food is simple, yet good, and didn’t leave me feeling like I had to unbutton my pants and take a nap afterwards.

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Review: ShopHouse, guilt-free and tasty fast food


To say that Chipotle changed the concept of fast food and how most people view Mexican food is no understatement.  Now, the founders of Chipotle are trying to do to Asian fare what they did with Mexican fare eighteen years ago. (I still can’t believe Chipotle has been around that long!)  The result is Shop House Southeast Asian Market, which I think will have no problem being just as successful as its sister restaurant.  I found the food tasty (although it could have used more salt), filling, affordable (under $7 for a bowl!), and I didn’t have any post-fast food guilt. Win-win-win.

Diners can choose from a bowl or a banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich).  For the bowl, diners choose noodles or rice (brown or white), one of four veggies, a protein (pork and chicken meatballs, chicken, steak, or tofu), one of three sauces (mild or spicy curry or a tamarind vinaigrette), a garnish (pickled veggies, cooling papaya slaw, or herb salad) and finally some crunch (fried garlic, crushed peanuts, or toasted rice).  The banh mi comes with a protein, papaya slaw, herb salad and peanuts.

On my first and only trip thus far, I tried a brown rice bowl with pork and chicken meatballs, roasted eggplant, papaya slaw, spicy curry sauce and fried garlic.  (Thank goodness I wasn’t kissing anyone anytime soon).  Everything tasted fresh (and apparently the meat used contains no hormones or antibiotics).

The meatballs were probably my favorite part because they contained one of my favorite meats (pork), were perfectly seasoned, had a crunchy exterior, and a flavorful, juicy interior.  I loved that I could select brown rice.  I liked the simplicity of the menu and how each component was chosen with purpose — protein, carb, veggie, some heat, cool garnish, and finally some crunch.  The spicy curry sauce really packs a punch.  So much so that I didn’t even think of reaching for the bottle of Sriracha that decorates each table.  (And I do love my Sriracha!).  The simplicity of the menu is played out in the decor which is minimalist but inviting.

My one complaint is that everything (save for the meatballs) could have used a smidge more salt.  For those that have been reading my reviews, you might have noticed that I’ve complained about under-seasoned food . . . a lot.  For the record, I’m not someone who has a high tolerance for salt.  I like to think my palate is pretty well-balanced.  Of course, feel free to take my advice about seasoning with or without a grain of salt (ha!).  What I mean is that, for those that like little to no salt in their food, you may find the level of salt in the rice bowl ideal.  You get what I’m trying to say, right?

Next time I think I’ll fork the banh mi with those awesome meatballs….

ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen on Urbanspoon