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Doi Moi: A Quick Culinary Visit to Southeast Asia

29 Aug

Doi Moi

This week’s grand opening of Doi Moi (1800 14th Street NW) was one of the most anticipated new restaurant openings this year in any part of the District.  Owner Mark Kuller is responsible for two of the best restaurants in the city (Proof and Estadio) and had spent a significant amount of time traveling with his head chef to embed themselves in countries throughout Southeast Asia to research and prepare for their new restaurant that would feature tastes and spices from around the region.  The result is an experience that lets diners savor the richness and spiciness of Vietnamese and Thai dishes without having to travel farther than 14th Street.

When you first walk into Doi Moi and turn to the left, you will immediately realize that the substantial open kitchen is in the middle of the first (of two) dining rooms, giving you a view of the action and allowing you to soak in the aroma of the dishes you are about to enjoy.  Throughout the restaurant is authentic art that the owner brought back from his travels in the region to decorate the restaurant.  If you are unable to get a table due to high demand, try to grab one of the ample bar stools which give you a front row seat to the live cooking show unfolding before your eyes.

Pla Pad Cha (Wild Halibut in Jungle Curry) at Doi Moi

Pla Pad Cha (Wild Halibut in Jungle Curry) at Doi Moi

Like its sister restaurant Estadio, the menu is largely composed of small dishes; however, the rice and noodle dishes are more of an entree size than the rest of the menu.  The dishes are broken up into starters, skewers, salads, soup, curries, “share,” noodles and rice dishes, and vegetables.  Our waiter suggested that each person should order 2-3 dishes.  A starter and two of the larger dishes will certainly not leave you hungry. Continue reading

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