From Jane Alonso. Her passion for food and spirits leads her on frequent excursions into Borderstanâ€™s land of bars and restaurants. Email her at jane[AT]borderstan.com.Â
The DC suburbs usually have a lock on the best choices for Vietnamese food, but now Borderstan residents have a new option close to home â€”Â Hanoi House, which opened its doors on November 26.
Located in the space formerly occupied by the Hilton brothers’ Blackbyrd Warehouse, Hanoi House showcases the traditional northern Vietnamese cuisine of Marvin Executive Chef James Claudio and his grandmother, Lap Claudio, who taught him the art of Vietnamese cooking in their family home. The restaurant builds on the pho â€śpop-upâ€ť concept that Claudio experimented with last spring at the Montserrat House on 9th Street.
Hanoi House gives us a more extensive look into Vietnamese cuisine beyond pho, adding several categories of food to the pop-upâ€™s menuÂ â€” four different Banh Mi sandwiches (Vietnamese pork sausage, beef, chicken, slices pork), vermicelli rice noodle bowls with a variety of toppings, spring and summer rolls, green papaya salad, and Banh Xeo, a type of rice flour crepe.
Though serious about its food, Hanoi House has a distinctly lounge feel. As with The Gibson, the cocktails are created by master mixologist Brendan Murphy, and the music engineered by the wonderful Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation. The drink menu features Asian-themes ingredients like tea, coconut milk, ginger, Thai basil, and tamarind; a limited but interesting list of beers from Vietnam, Brazil, and Beligum, and wines meant to complement the cuisine. And of course, a fully stacked bar for all other requests.
The dĂ©cor is so different from the Blackbyrd you have to remind yourself you are in the same space â€”Â the walls, bar stools, and even the cozy booths are splashed with red and lacquered black, the color of luck in the Far East. Perfect for anyone trying to close a lucky deal with a date at the end of an evening out in the neighborhood.
Hanoi House: The Details
- Â Where Am I Going: 2005 14th Street, NW
- Â When Am I Going: Monday-Friday, 5 pm â€“ closing; Saturday and Sunday 12 pm â€“ closing.
- Â Paycheck Pain: Your pocketbook wonâ€™t hurt too badly. Cocktails, beer, and wine from $8-$12; Food from $5-$11.
- What am I eating and drinking: Vietnamese chow washed down by Asian-inspired cocktails.