We planned a trip to DC and in typical UFL fashion we decided to visit 4 restaurants and the National Zoo in only 8 hours. Being a GIANT fan of Chipotle’s efforts to elevate the fast casual dining concept we decided our first stop in DC was going to be at the Chipotle created ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen.
There use to be Bahn Mi sandwiches on the menu but due to a shortage in sourcing quality bread the menu now only contains one thing… the bowl. Drawing on the bold flavors of Southeast Asian Cuisine (Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore) the menu consists of rice and noodle bowls with homemade curries and sauces, fresh vegetables and herbs, and artisanal tofu. In keeping with Chipotle’s famous motto (Food with Integrity) all of the meats are raised responsibly without the use of antibiotics or added hormones.
If you’re a fan of eating spicy… there’s a wall of Siracha sauce just waiting to greet you at the entrance :)
Once you make it to the counter you’re greeted by a row of smiling faces and a menu thats very reminiscent of Chipotle.
This is what you start with:
- Brown Rice – Unmilled, whole, natural, and healthy grain with a subtle nutty flavor
- Jasmine Rice – A staple throughout Southeast Asia the long slender grain has an elusive floral scent
- Chilled Rice Noodles – A traditional Vietnamese chilled rice noodle perfect for pairing with a chili sauce
- Salad (Napa Cabbage)
Then you’re given a set of protein choices
- Grilled Satay Chicken – Naturally raised and marinated overnight in lemongrass, turmeric, chilis, and coconut milk.
- Grilled Steak Laab – Naturally raised chopped steak with dry spices, chilis, lime, fish sauce, herbs and crispy rice.
- Pork and Chicken Meatballs – Naturally raised pork and chicken mixed with broken rice and fresh herbs.
- Tofu – Non-GMO soybean ground tofu with ginger, tamarind, and cilantro from the Hodo Soy Beanery in Oakland, Ca.
Next up… the vegetables
- Wok fried broccoli with chili-vinegar
- Blacked sweet corn with garlic and sesame
- Charred eggplants with chilis and thai basil
- Caramelized shallots and green beans
Then the sauces
- Tamarind Vinaigrette with tamarind, lime, and ginger
- Green Curry or a Spicy Red Curry
- Chilled green papaya with cucumber and carrots tosses in a lime-ginger dressing
- Mixed radishes with carrots and cucumbers in a Singaporean-style brine
- Cilantro, mint, and thai basil herb salad
- Toasted Rice, Crispy Garlic, or Crushed Peanuts
I went with the chilled rice noodles and steak laab with sweet corn and the green papaya coleslaw. I didn’t want to drown the flavors in any specific sauce so I got all three of them on the side so I could try them one at a time. My favorite of the sauces… the tamarind vinaigrette easily. The curries were good but I don’t think I like curry apparently. The steak laab was probably one of the best new things I had ever eaten and an easy recommendation for your first visit. My only suggestion was in addition to the chilled rice noodles I would love to see a hot noodle option added to the menu. Something like warm pad thai noodles or lo mein noodles would be the only thing to make my bowl even better.
We loved ShopHouse at the first bite and will be the first in line when ShopHouse opens in Charlotte, NC.