Saturday, February 1, 2014

Nam-Viet Pho 79 Food Review

Nam-Viet Vietnamese Orange Chicken

Cleveland Park is blessed with a wide variety of restaurants, including four that feature Asian cuisine. The oldest (or longest open... sounds better, no?) on the block is Nam-Viet Pho 79. Vietnamese food may not get as much love as its Thai counterparts (ParagonSiam House) and Nam-Viet's decor certainly doesn't come close to neighbor Spices; but nobody matches Nam-Viet when it comes to comfort (at least not since Yenching Palace.) Locals cherish the place, and with good reason.

Granted, Nam-Viet isn't my kind of place to dine-in (I'm a Spices kinda guy) but take-out? That's a whole nother Avenue. It always fits the bill, when you're in the mood for something different. For example, the other night: My friend Talia was over, and my home kitchen was "closed." What to do? Call 202-237-1015. A few numbers later (#2, #61, #76) and all we had to do was pick it up 20 minutes later.

Evidently though, comfort doesn't come cheap. Two spring rolls, $5.25 (I can live with that) but $13.95/13.50 each for Chicken & stir-fried noodles and Orange Chicken? That's a bit steep, especially given the latter's relatively small portion.

As far as quality goes however... No complaints. The spring rolls (deep-fried & filled with pork, chicken, crabmeat, carrots, and vermicelli - served on top of romaine lettuce, watercress, and homemade fish sauce) are dynamite. They're also quite a bit larger than you get elsewhere; and if the above ingredients didn't register with you... I feel sorry for you.

Nam-Viet Crispy Spring Rolls (2)

My main entree (Orange Chicken with rice) was mighty tasty; but as I said before, I would have preferred more. Breaded with corn flower and fried, then sautéed with ginger and oranges (in a homemade house citrus sauce) I ordered mine spicy and bless their hearts... they didn't disappoint. The chicken was out of this world... bursting with fresh orange flavor, and a subtle crunch from thankfully light-frying. If there's one thing I love about Nam-Viet, it's that they don't over-fry their food.

Perfect Rice!

Nam-Viet gets extra points for cooking their rice perfectly (something that sounds easy, but quickly ruins a meal if it's done incorrectly.) Do I wish it cost a few dollars less? Of course. Would I have liked a few more pieces of chicken? Duh! More importantly, would I order it again? In a heartbeat.