The choices are simple. Step 1: pick your base of white rice, brown rice, or noodles. Step 2: pick your meat from grilled chicken satay, grilled steak, pork and chicken meatballs, or tofu. Step 3: pick your vegetable from chinese broccoli, eggplant, spicy charred corn, or long beans. Step 4: sauce it up with either a tamarind vinaigrette, green curry, or a spicy red curry. Then you have the option to add garnishes such as toasted rice, crushed peanuts, or green papaya slaw. In the end you are presented with a very attractive bowl or banh mi which you feel slightly proud of given your involvement in building what you hope will be a masterpiece.
I started my bowl with brown rice and added the pork and chicken meatballs, eggplant with thai basil, green curry, papaya slaw, and topped it off with crushed peanuts. While there is definitely a lot going on in the bowl and it contains many flavors, I thought overall the combination was really good. I loved the coconut based green curry which was spicier than expected but had a great kick to it. I also thought the meatballs were incredibly juicy and delicious, and tasted awesome with the curry and the brown rice. For my first attempt at a bowl I was pretty impressed with my concoction. I also tried the grilled chicken satay which I thought was very tasty and I would definitely order that on another trip back. Word from my friends was that the tamarind vinaigrette was a little to heavy on the ginger, the corn was a bit mushy, and the long beans got good reviews.
My only complaint is that the seating area at ShopHouse is very limited, and given that the place is always packed I think it’d be silly for anyone to go there counting on a “dine-in” experience. You should go there expecting to do takeout which I don’t think will be a huge problem for the target audience. Luckily it was nice out last night so my friends and I had a picnic in Dupont Circle which was very enjoyable. The best part about ShopHouse? I’m already plotting out my next combination. There’s always something new to try, and hopefully that will keep it from getting old.
ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen
1516 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036