There was a long period when I probably averaged about five meals in Vietnamese restaurants for every hamburger I ate. (This was before hamburgers went upscale.)
Nam Viet, in Cleveland Park, was one of my default choices when I wanted an excellent and not-too-expensive meal, but it’s been at least two years since I last visited.
I was in the neighbourhood yesterday, dropping off equipment at the Comcast service center—I’ve finally cut the cord on overpriced cable! Nam Viet was right across the street, and it was lunchtime.
I started with the fried quail appetizer, and, oh, was it good. I’d never order this unless I was dining alone, because eating quail is even messier than eating lobster. Quail is small and bony—the smaller bones are actually edible—and, really, it’s finger food. Nam Viet serves it with a glazed sweet house fish sauce and caramelized onions, on a bed of lettuce.
My main, from the “Chef Specialties” menu, was a huge serving of Caramelized Chicken with fresh ginger and onions. The sautéed, all-white-meat chicken came in a lidded bowl, with a side of steamed rice.
The sauce was nothing less than amazing—sweet and rich and syruppy. I wanted to taste every drop.
All in all, this was one of the best meals I’ve had in months. I’m thinking of making lunch at Nam Viet a once-a-week appointment for June and July.