Location: U Street
Rating: 4 out of 5
Summary: Great Thai flavors for a great deal
DC Noodles was a great surprise. From the same people who brought you Rice in Logan Circle, this is a more basic, noodle focused approach while still introducing new flavors and techniques. The open space and simple designs provide a very relaxed atmosphere, likened to a coffee shop without the throw pillows. Neat and thoughtful additions to the décor, like metal coat hangers placed uniformly on the walls behind each table, offer a valuable insight into the meal ahead. Like most of the decorations and placements, the flavors of DC Noodles are neat, thoughtful and put you at ease.
Although every noodle and Thai place has its own interpretation of Red Curry, this is the first time I have seen it served as a soup. Spinach linguine is pilled in the center of a bowl filled with rich, coconut milk curry. Sliced chicken and vegetables, including Asian Pumpkin, are mixed in the curry moat, allowing a lot of substance to this large portioned dish. The sauce manages to be spiced enough to almost be spicy, but still allow the coconut flavor remain the main character of the meal. The well-made spinach linguine holds its form remarkably well for how soft and delicate it tastes and adds great color to the dish. The chicken feels like a “required protein” player in the dish, like the relative you invite to you party as an afterthought. The modest but noticeable effort given to the presentation of the ingredients showcases the care taken in the meal. The balanced spices and smooth flavors make this great comfort food and also one of the best versions of Red Curry I have had.
The Drunken Noodles follows the same trend. Although I have had drunken noodles many times, this is easily one of the more flavorful versions I’ve enjoyed. It is easy to over-spice egg noodles in a sauce and serve it up as Drunken Noodles. It’s another matter entirely to allow all of the ingredients play together in a symphony of flavor. Chopped green & red peppers, onions, roma tomatoes, and basil work great with the delicate wide egg-noodles. The sauce that collects at the bottom allows just enough extra liquid to be sure you don’t just end up eating fattened noodles for any taste in the dish. The chicken again adds nothing to the over all picture, but doesn’t subtract anything either. The shredded carrot and pepper strings place on top adds wonderful color and an elegant feeling to the dish.
DC Noodles puts you at ease with its open and casual atmosphere while impressing you with the care and flavor put into its menu. The healthy portions for a moderate price would have made this enough of a good deal, but the “noodle lover club card” makes this place great. Eat ten dishes (every noodle dish served counts) and the eleventh is free, hooking customers to come more frequently and with even larger parties. It’s safe to say that finding the time in the future to fill up that card won’t be hard to find.
As an additional note, there is adjoining men and women’s fashion store featuring items by a Thai designer.