Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Photo Recap: ShopHouse Penn Quarter Grand Opening

I make no secret for my affinity towards ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen... It's by and far, one of my favorite fast casual restaurants in all of DC. Affordable, delicious and loaded with unique flavors... What's not to love? Chipotle's favorite sibling opened its fourth area location (and seventh nationwide) yesterday to a steady stream of Penn Quarter converts, routinely extending the ordering line outside the front door.

Inside, as you can imagine was a combination of bliss and excitement; ShopHouse Brand Director Tim Wildin was on hand, and summed it up best...

"We are thrilled to now be open on 7th Street in Chinatown. It's a dynamic, evolving neighborhood - one where I think people will really appreciate our unique style of fast food. We strive to cook the most delicious food possible, so incorporating local, seasonal produce has been something we've been eager to do. The kale that we just debuted at 7th Street is just the beginning - we'll be working with local growers to introduce other vegetable options onto the menu throughout the year in addition to our current lineup of green beans, charred corn, kale, and eggplant & Thai basil."

As for me, I was thrilled to try something old and something new. The former... ShopHouse's popular bowl of Pork & Chicken Meatballs, served over brown rice and covered in eggplant & Thai basil, spicy red curry and pickles (mixed radishes, carrots, and cucumbers in a Singaporean-style brine.) A dash of Thai chilis gave it that extra jolt of heat I seem to require nowadays. As for new, a sample of kale (yes samples, just ask a sales associate - She didn't bat an eye, placing some warm kale in a takeaway container with a spoon. Great service.) is enough to convince even the finickiest eater to finish their greens.

Kale appears to be DC's vegetable of choice at the moment, and ShopHouse prepares it better (with chili-vinegar) than most. I even got a chance to visit the kitchen, and see it cooked right in front of me (and my trusted Canon... See below.) I love how ShopHouse slowly adds to its menu (a la Chipotle.) Why mess with a proven menu, just to provide unnecessary variety? Make sure it's seasonal (kale is available through the summer, then it's gone.) If you're waiting for ShopHouse to add a Kids Meal with chicken nuggets and fries, don't hold your breath.

Up close and personal with ShopHouse's newest veg... Kale

The new space is open seven days a week, 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, and is literally across the street from Verizon Center/Regal Gallery Place. Finally, I have someplace healthy and tasty to eat at, after a Regal screening or a Wizards/Mystics game at Verizon.