The neighborhood restaurant. That is probably the best way to describe Nam-Viet. With two locations in the DMV, Nam-Viet is not new to the neighborhood, rather a place that is a part of the culture in its designated locations. The one we are most familiar with is the one in Cleveland Park, which offers the perfect amount of space for an intimate dinner for two or a dinner with four of your best girlfriends.
We stumbled on this spot one day when we were looking for something reasonable, with a relaxing environment and without the high maintenance of some of the typical Upper Northwest restaurants. Perfect match. The staff was attentive and helpful in the menu selections…Vietnamese food is not our speciality, but we are learning. We randomly chose our selections…one was for the best, the other not so good. We started with the Sup Mang Cua (*Nam-Viet Crab and Asparagus Soup)…delicious. The combination of the crab, egg whites and asparagus dipped in a clear, thick broth was just what we needed on this rainy night (*sound familiar?? Last night was absolutely yucky…). The not so good part of the meal came with the Rau Kho Xa (*Lemongrass Tofu with Mixed Vegetables)…the mixture just did not mesh well together. We will take the blame for this one, however, because we were looking for a lemongrass soup when we entered and just needed to fill that void.
The atmosphere offers the low key, pleasant feel needed after a hard day of work or play. When you’re on this side of town, it is worth it to try the Pho (*they are Pho 79, after all…). The lesson from this Pick of the Week is when one is ordering Vietnamese food, one should know their “dish”. This is not the time to try something new and that be your whole meal…choose something safe and then splurge on something new. We speak from experience…crab and asparagus soup is our new fetish of the week.