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StephenB

Nam-Viet Pho 79, Family-Owned Vietnamese in Clarendon - Cleveland Park Location Closed Jun 25, 2017

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StephenB   

A lady I know has been touting this place for weeks, so we went tonight. It's a few doors down from Dino. The d�cor is plastic but the food is worth a trip. We had Crispy Spring Rolls (truly crunchy), Hue Spicy Beef Soup (needed a couple of hits from the spices on the table), Fried Quail (delicate and delicious), and Grilled Pork Hanoi (nice). She had a VN beer, "33," never heard of it. What happened in VN in 1933? And why do they have the name of the restaurant backwards?

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A lady I know has been touting this place for weeks, so we went tonight. It's a few doors down from Dino. The décor is plastic but the food is worth a trip. We had Crispy Spring Rolls (truly crunchy), Hue Spicy Beef Soup (needed a couple of hits from the spices on the table), Fried Quail (delicate and delicious), and Grilled Pork Hanoi (nice). She had a VN beer, "33," never heard of it. What happened in VN in 1933? And why do they have the name of the restaurant backwards?
In Vietnam it's called 333, but apparently over here as a protest against the Communist government it's only called 33. I'm not sure if the 333 has some sort of lucky number significance, but I sorta doubt it. It was considered a Western beer in Vietnam initially.

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grover   

Because the beer is 33 cl (centi litre). Why 333? Because it is 333 ml (milli litre). I know it should be 330 ml but they named this way.

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dcs   
Nam-Viet Pho 79, Family-owned Vietnamese, Two locations in Del Ray and Cleveland Park

Should this not read Three locations? Is not the Clarendon Nam-Viet part of the same family?

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Waitman   

The Cleveland Park Nam Viet has always been a go-to for us, though the service is so abrubt we tend to carry out rather than dine in. Lately, however, it feels as though it's been drifting slightly downhill, from above-average to pretty mediocre. The pho is still good, though, and few things go better with a chilled Gewurtztraminer than the curried squid.

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Should this not read Three locations? Is not the Clarendon Nam-Viet part of the same family?
Although the website shows a photo of the Mt. Vernon Ave. location, the Del Ray/Arlandria location is closed and has been for more than a year. It was replaced by Pho Saigon 8. The Clarendon location is part of the same family.

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KeithA   
The Cleveland Park Nam Viet has always been a go-to for us, though the service is so abrubt we tend to carry out rather than dine in. Lately, however, it feels as though it's been drifting slightly downhill, from above-average to pretty mediocre. The pho is still good, though, and few things go better with a chilled Gewurtztraminer than the curried squid.
I disagree, the food is pretty much the same it has always been in the last 3+ years that I've lived nearby and eaten here at least once every week or two. The food is about a 6 out of 10 - good, not great, but the prices are very good - large bowl of different types of pho for around $7-8 or other meat or seafood entrees for $10-15. Also some dishes are better than others - most of the chicken dishes are alittle overcooked, but the beef dishes are usually spot on. My two favorites besides pho are the lemongrass skewered beef and Nam-Viet special stir-fried noodles with tofu, and mixed vegetables, which is like a vietnamese twist on pad thai. I will agree that the service is somewhat chaotic - you don't really have a server, the whole team waits on you or doesn't. However, I do think as a regular, service may be bit better because they know me. Nonetheless, the servers are all very friendly and willing to explain dishes. My thought is that it is a great neighborhood restaurant and one of the few metro-accessible pho joints in the District.

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Waitman   
I disagree, the food is pretty much the same it has always been in the last 3+ years that I've lived nearby and eaten here at least once every week or two.
Hah -- you shoulda been there nine years ago when I started eating there. Them was the good old days. :lol:

I will agree that the service is somewhat chaotic - you don't really have a server, the whole team waits on you or doesn't. However, I do think as a regular, service may be bit better because they know me. Nonetheless, the servers are all very friendly and willing to explain dishes. My thought is that it is a great neighborhood restaurant and one of the few metro-accessible pho joints in the District.
Eating in I generally get ignored for a brief period, then if I don't order everything at once -- drinks, apps, mains -- I get something of an eye roll, and then everything shows up more or less at the same time. If I'm not careful, I'm back on the street in 45 minutes. It's not that service is rude or anything, it's just a tough place to get a relaxing meal.

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KeithA   
Hah -- you shoulda been there nine years ago when I started eating there. Them was the good old days. :lol:

Eating in I generally get ignored for a brief period, then if I don't order everything at once -- drinks, apps, mains -- I get something of an eye roll, and then everything shows up more or less at the same time. If I'm not careful, I'm back on the street in 45 minutes. It's not that service is rude or anything, it's just a tough place to get a relaxing meal.

This differs a lot from my usual experience dining in there and I almost never do carry out. More often than not, the service is on the slow side, than fast.

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Lulled in by the not-too-bad notes on the pho here, I thought it wouldn't be a bad in-law/toddler stop after the zoo today. I was wrong. The pho was watery and fairly flavorless, and the meat was bad. I was happy to abandon my bowl when the girl started to get a bit antsy; my leftover turkey meatloaf was a vast improvement.

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ktmoomau   

So number 31 here Nam-Viet Grilled Pork w/Crispy Spring Roll over Rice Vermicelli is where it is at. I spent a long morning gardening with a friend and we went to the Arlington location with her husband to eat after our hard work out of weeding and mulching and planting. They told me number 31 was their favorite order here, so I went for it. The pork is so well caramelized on the outside it is just a great dish. Of course I was also starving, I ended up eating the whole bowl and a shrimp toast, which was also very good.

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So number 31 here Nam-Viet Grilled Pork w/Crispy Spring Roll over Rice Vermicelli is where it is at.

If there was a like button, I'd click it! That is my favorite, too. Makes me think I need to get back to Nam-Viet (maybe after I do some badly needed gardening).

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DonRocks   

[saw this thread and am rethinking the title ... how many Vietnamese restaurants *aren't* family-owned?] B)

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jfw   

So number 31 here Nam-Viet Grilled Pork w/Crispy Spring Roll over Rice Vermicelli is where it is at. I spent a long morning gardening with a friend and we went to the Arlington location with her husband to eat after our hard work out of weeding and mulching and planting. They told me number 31 was their favorite order here, so I went for it. The pork is so well caramelized on the outside it is just a great dish. Of course I was also starving, I ended up eating the whole bowl and a shrimp toast, which was also very good.

Yes. #31. It is my go-to. I sit down and Kenny(?) says, "Fischer Amber? Shrimp garden rolls? #31?" I say, "Yes." Then I stuff myself silly (usually after asking for more dressing/sauce to put on the #31) and, after the damage is done, am happy to accept the hot towel to save myself the trip to the bathroom for my typical post-meal hand washing. Thank you, Nam-Viet, for ten years of that ritual.

JFW

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ktmoomau   

[saw this thread and am rethinking the title ... how many Vietnamese restaurants *aren't* family-owned?] B)

Perhaps the new thread title should be #31 is where it is at, as that seems to be consensus :D

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liz2041   

Perhaps the new thread title should be #31 is where it is at, as that seems to be consensus B)

I was trying to remember if I have ever ordered anything except #31 in the last 15 years. I think the answer is no. I am not sure if that makes me boring, but I don't care.

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Inspired by the recent posts here, I did get back to Nam-Viet for a #31. Perfect quiet spot for a late Sunday lunch, away from the Mother's Day hoopla elsewhere. As usual, all my cravings (sweet, salty, crispy, noodley, crunchy) were satisfied. I enjoy the salad aspect of the dish - plenty of cucumber, sprouts, mint, etc. to lighten things up. The +1 ordered the shrimp and pork garden rolls - wrappers were a bit dry, but otherwise they were bursting with fresh ingredients. The peanut dipping sauce did seem thin, compared to previous visits. He also ordered the Hue Spicy Beef Soup mentioned in the first post of this thread (miss you StephenB B) ). The same comment held true yesterday - it needed a bit of spice from the condiments on the table. Aside from that, flavor was good, lots of sweet onions and thick noodles along with the beef.

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dcs   

The +1 ordered the shrimp and pork garden rolls - wrappers were a bit dry, but otherwise they were bursting with fresh ingredients. The peanut dipping sauce did seem thin, compared to previous visits.

I had these last evening, and I recall thinking the same thing about the peanut sauce. I have had these garden rolls dozens of times over the years and yesterday's sauce was a particularly thin batch.

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ktmoomau   

We were there Friday night. My Mom had strep (non-contagious at this point) and we wanted a dinner that was low-key. She got the curried chicken with coconut juice in clay pot, which I thought had a nice flavor, not spicy, a little sweet, but actually rather well balanced, and was really nice for her as it wasn't bland, but it was comforting and not too out of the norm for her in terms of things she likes to eat.

I got the lemon peel chicken with rice vermicelli, just to try it. Good, but nowhere as good as the #31. The chicken just doesn't have the flavor of that pork. And it wasn't quite as crispy. But service was so friendly and nice and it was nice not to have to wait somewhere and for Mom to get something that sounded good to her when she didn't feel well.

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dcs   

FYI, from a sign in the window and posted on their website:

Nam-Viet Restaurant will be closed for renovations

VA. - Monday, August 13th, 2012 through Sunday, August 19th, 2012.

D.C. - Monday, August 6th, 2012 through Sunday, August 12th, 2012.

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Barbara   

FYI, from a sign in the window and posted on their website:

That doesn't seem too ominous: close for a week in August and maybe get a new awning in CP that looks more "modern" than what is there. If they don't reopen on schedule, then I'll be concerned.

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dcs   

Clarendon location closed for renovations again until August 12, 2013.

Nam-Viet Restaurant Arlington, Va. location will be closed for renovations from - 
Monday, August 5, 2013 to Sunday, August 11, 2013. We will reopen for business Monday, August 12th, 2013.During this time, we invite you to visit our sister location in Cleveland Park

I did not notice any differences after the last renovation.  Maybe this time will be different.  Maybe "renovations" is just the Vietnamese word for "summer vacation."

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KeithA   

Clarendon location closed for renovations again until August 12, 2013.

I did not notice any differences after the last renovation.  Maybe this time will be different.  Maybe "renovations" is just the Vietnamese word for "summer vacation."

When they renovated the CP location a few years back they updated the decor a bit and made slight additions to the menu but the food and service were generally the same.

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Gadarene   

Love the Spicy Beef Hue here but haven't been in in a while.  It's tough when they're on the same strip as Dino, Ripple, and Palena and adjacent to Indique and Medium Rare!  (Though I haven't had a chance to eat at Medium Rare, truth be told, and I haven't been to Palena or Indique in years either, because when I'm in that area I always end up just making a bee line for Dino, so who am I kidding, really.)

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