Street food is taking over DC faster than Godzilla (now back in theaters!) trampled Tokyo. The latest spot to sling open their street food serving doors is Soi 38 located in the West End. It’s a passion project 10 years in the making from married couple (and Thailand natives) Dia Khanthongthip and Nat Ongsangkoon.
We’re a bit jealous of the duck inside the Best Thing on the Menu: Ped Roti. It’s lovingly wrapped in warm, fried roti. You may know roti from Indian cuisine or even the fast casual Mediterranean spot. But, roti is also used in Thai street food dishes that you might find at a night market in Bangkok–which is exactly what Soi 38 is modeled after. The wrap filling is sweet and spicy and also contains cooling cucumber, which you’ll be thankful for after bites eight and nine.
Another can’t miss dish is the catch of the day served either steamed with lemongrass, chili and garlic or fried with Thai spicy chili sauce. Thai spices seep deep into the flesh of fish so that you’re blown away by lemongrass and Kaffir lime with every bite. Fortunately, cocktails from JP Caceres utilize many of the same spices and herbs, so they pair perfectly.
The menu at Blue Duck Tavern is a moving target. It changes with the seasons, or with the chef, but there’s one thing that we hope never goes away: ‘Dem bones. It’s as simple as that. We’re talking about The Best Thing on the Menu: Wood Oven-Roasted Bone Marrow with Horseradish Butter and a Parsley Crust.
Marrow is nature’s margarine (and far more spreadable than butter), so don’t miss out on the perfect bite at BDT. First, smear marrow on still-warm toast, then smash a roasted garlic clove on top before digging in. While you’re feeling guilty about calories (Anthony Bordain calls marrow God’s Butter), remember that it contains essential fatty acids and at least eight vitamins and minerals.
Another stunner comes in dessert form. Pastry Chef Naomi Gallego is a wizard of epic proportions. Just look at this deconstructed Meyer Lemon Ice Box Cake consisting of Lemon Cremeux, graham cake, cream cheese blueberry pearls and Tasmanian pepper meringue.
It looks like an underwater ballet set in a coral reef. Sometimes when things get too artsy, they don’t taste as grand. But this sure does. Nothing says where the hell are you summer more than the pairing of blueberry and lemon.
Bone Marrow not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.
Washington is a city that revolves around dining – Maybe you’re a 20-something with an insatiable hunger for networking and small plates, or a lobbyist lunching with gentle persuasion on K Street, or just a good friend being dragged to yet another non-profit fundraiser happy hour complete with “heavy apps.” This is all before the weekend hits and we know DCers live to brunch. With all this eating, our waistlines are bound to take a hit that even the most aggressive CrossFit WOD or death-defying pole dancing class can’t fix.
Enter Westend Bistro, an oasis of delicious healthy food in a vast desert of trending devilish indulgences. We left our meal guilt-free and extremely impressed. The Best Thing on the Menu: Pan Roasted Salmon with Three Lentil Salad, Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette, Olive Tapenade and Sundried Tomato Pesto appeared in the much appreciated “Bistro Light” section of the menu, accompanied by other mid-section mindful meals. This small portion of the menu includes calorie counts, eliminating the guesswork and mystery. The acidity of the salmon’s accompaniments hid the fact that little to no butter was used, and the plate was so colorful that it added to the satisfaction.
Salmon wasn’t the only fish that stood out at Westend Bistro. Chef Devin Bozkaya‘s passion for poisson was quite apparent and we’re not surprised by his marine mastery since his career began in Anchorage, Alaska and continued on to Seattle, Washington. The Tuna Carpaccio was an actual magic trick. It appeared to be one impossibly thin slice of tuna rather than the small circular slices one is accustomed to. The Pan Roasted Bass with Mushroom Risotto, Lemongrass and Coconut Sauce and Baby Bok Choy was another winner.
The Ritz-Carlton restaurant is also a respite from the small-plates craze. With great gusto we each chose the ONE dish that struck our fancy. Committing felt good again.
Pan Roasted Salmon not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.