This Southeast Asian hot spot on 14th Street NW is a gem. Doi Moi has a clean, all-white decor and it’s only offset by the colorful conversations and bursts of brightness coming off the plates. The menu is large, all items traditional and many titles of the dishes are not in English. Often hard to get a reservation, many patrons opt to cozy up to the bar with friends, share some cocktails, and some of their many smaller plates. Here are some of our favorites.
Gai Sateh: Coconut & Curry Chicken Skewers
Standing out from your typical meat-on-a-stick, these chicken skewers are bursting with flavor. The mellow and sweet coconut contrasts the vibrant, but not spicy, curry wonderfully. The chicken had a nice char on the outside (nice burnt crispy bits), however they are prone to being overcooked. The sweet and spicy dipping sauce and fresh pickled vegetables on the side can easily help overcome any misgivings. Perfect for sharing as well, and three skewers come at only $8.
Salads (often changing)
Any of their salad options are guaranteed to blow your taste buds away. The crisp raw vegetables allow for the familiar flavors of Southeast Asia, the combinations of sweet, spicy, and sour, to shine. This option above was made with shaved fruit, spicy Thai chiles, tomatoes, snake beans, lime, cilantro, and toasted peanuts.
This creative salad contained spicy sausage wrapped in strips of noodles then deep fried on a bed of cucumbers, tomatoes, with fresh herbs and a sweet vinegar dressing.
Nua Kem: Thai Style Fried Marinated Beef (our favorite)
This is the best protein small plate they offer. Tender strips of marinated beef are flash fried to remain crispy on the edges but tender in the middle. In a sweet and salty marinade, with just enough heat, this mountain of sliced beef is only $12 and can easily serve as a main course to be split for two (pair it with a side of Chinese stir fried broccoli). Oh, did we mention it comes with “shark sriracha” for dipping? Unclear if it contains real shark.
Mức Rang Muối: Fried Salt & Pepper Squid
A roller coaster of flavor, this calamari is some of the best we’ve had. Crunchy exterior, tender calamari and bursting with spice and seasoning. Five spice, black pepper, ginger, chilies, cilantro, scallions, garlic, and lime envelope these fried crispy morsels making the flavor and heat addictive. Case in point, I had to snap a picture after realizing in only minutes these were disappearing at a rapid pace.
The food is warm, so we recommend cold libations.
In the summertime, get their Pina Colada. Their high end twist has the staples, dark rum, pineapple, coconut, and lime. But it’s the fresh shaved ice, the made-to-order freshly grated coconut, and hand sliced pineapple that takes this over the top.
When it’s colder, we like the Mead. Chilled mulled cider wine dating back to the time of the Vikings, we like the B Nektar, Kill All The Golfers Mead, with its flavors of lemon-black tea. Made in Michigan, you’ll get 16.9oz for only $15. You don’t have to share.