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Bangkok Joe's (Formerly Mama Rouge Formerly Bangkok Joe's), Southeast Asian Fusion at Washington Harbor Reopened Apr 7, 2016


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Considered adding it to the "places we don't talk about" thread, but I thought I'd jump directly to giving it a thread of its own. The only mention I found with the search function was applause for their mojito.

Great place for dinner before or after a movie in Georgetown -- it's practically right across the street (K Street, that is) from the Loews Cineplex, on the waterfront. We stopped by again after Shopgirl on Saturday. Verdict: movie, eh; food, yay!

The lobster and pine nut dumplings come with a tangy balsamic sauce and a little heap of cubed fruit, and I swear I could eat a kajillion of these. The chicken buns and pork/crab shu mai were good too. I'm sure you can get more authentic versions of these elsewhere in town for a lower price, but then you wouldn't get to enjoy them in such pretty, stylish environs, while sipping a Tomkhatini (coconut cream, pepper vodka, ginger, lemongrass, and lime.) The entrees are basic -- rice bowls and noodle bowls and curries -- and they're all good. Had the chicken and peanut noodles, which is listed as a salad, but was definitely big enough for an entree, especially with the buns and dumplings to start off. Entrees are mostly in the $12-16 range, I think. Cocktails under $10 and between $6-10 for those dumplings, two to four to an order, depending on which you get.

The bartender was excellent, very capable and sharp and quick with everything from the cocktail menu to the check.

Anybody else been?

Jael

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I went to the Dumpling Bar when it first opened and although it was very good, it seemed that prices didn't make sense - maybe 3 times more expensive than the equivalent food at a Dim Sum Restaurant. On the other hand, the ambience is very hip/chic...I've been to Cabanas which is in the same complex, and this is another restaurant often ignored because it's in the touristy Harbour area, but the chef is Veteran Chef Hector Guerra, who originally worked under Roberto Donna of Galileo and Yannick Cam of Le Pavillion, so there food is very good as well, and priced fairly...yes, Cabanas is also owned by the Tony and Joe's people, but they have allowed the management of Cabanas to have more freedom on their cuisine.

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I went to the Dumpling Bar when it first opened and although it was very good, it seemed that prices didn't make sense - maybe 3 times more expensive than the equivalent food at a Dim Sum Restaurant.  On the other hand, the ambience is very hip/chic...I've been to Cabanas which is in the same complex, and this is another restaurant often ignored because it's in the touristy Harbour area, but the chef is Veteran Chef Hector Guerra, who originally worked under Roberto Donna of Galileo and Yannick Cam of Le Pavillion, so there food is very good as well, and priced fairly...yes, Cabanas is also owned by the Tony and Joe's people, but they have allowed the management of Cabanas to have more freedom on their cuisine.

a little bit off the track, but we loved el patio despite instances of insane service and have tried following hector guerra all around town but always seem to hit the place just as he's leaving and i wonder if that's not going to be the case with cabanas as well, which i am just now hearing about. i am talking maybe 20 years ago, so wonder what's the scoop on the interim.

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I have always loved this place! The dumplings are great - I always get the spicy seafood salad for an entree. The decor is cool, the service is good, and the flavors are typical thai, but certainly above average. I mostly like this place because I always felt like I was the only one who knew about it! :-)

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I have always loved this place! The dumplings are great - I always get the spicy seafood salad for an entree. The decor is cool, the service is good, and the flavors are typical thai, but certainly above average. I mostly like this place because I always felt like I was the only one who knew about it! :-)

try their mother restaurant, t.h.a.i. in shirlington for the best kow ka pow gai sub, go frior saty and ask for nat, pam or tim. ciao

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try their mother restaurant, t.h.a.i. in shirlington for the best kow ka pow gai sub....

That explains why I think Bangkok Joe's has the best ka pow I've had in DC. They actually make theirs with ground chicken like I am used to...

I think we're talking about the same thing, right?

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Palena front room would be great, but you might have to wait a little, even this week. But it's a lovely atmosphere and certainly fits the bill for great food.

In a completely different vein, there's Bangkok Joe's, down on the Georgetown waterfront. The space is really elegant but you won't be underdressed in nice jeans. Fancy cocktails, dumplings, Thai stuff. Would at least be a departure from the (long list of) other places you're visiting this week!

I'm not sure if the Bangkok Joe's RW dinner is the same as the lunch was, but two coworkers and I had the lunch yesterday, and this is what was available (approximately):

Course 1:

Shrimp Satay

Beef Curry in Roti

third option I don't recall

Course 2:

Chicken Panang

Chicken & Shrimp Drunken Noodles

third option I don't recall

Course 3:

Black Rice Pudding with Young Coconut

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Went here for dinner last night.

Appetizers – Mushroom ’n Ginger dumplings and the Shrimp ’n crab gyoza

Entrée – vegetarian pad thai

Dessert – sticky rice with fresh mango

Beverages – singer-lemon iced tea (NO alcohol)

ATMOSPHERE – Wonderful, very fun, beautiful, plush surroundings. A bit too loud for my tastes, but good fun.

SERVICE – Also wonderful. Attentive but not obtrusive. She was paying close attention to how much we were eating and she did not come to clear the plates until we were actually done. Water glasses never got past half full. I was very very happy with the service. They let us post up there for a full 3 hours without rushing or worrying us.

FOOD – the dumplings were really good, if a bit overpriced for what they were. I would actually recommend a full meal of a variety of the dumplings and rolls instead of a full entrée. My pad thai was just OK. Not earth shattering. By any stretch. It was actually a bit bland and did not have the complexity of flavors that normally characterize Thai food. But buyer beware, the portions are HUGE. Waaaayyyyy bigger than any person should consume. I had to look around and make sure I hadn’t mistakenly wandered into the Cheesecake Factory. However, the standout last night was the dessert. The mangoes were incredibly fresh and the sticky rice was nice and not too sweet. It was a light, refreshing, finish to a satisfying meal.

PRICE – We didn’t have any alcohol at all. Total was $61 (not including tax & tip)

OVERALL – I would go back to try some more dishes, but it’s more because I love Asian food and I like those random, fruit-based sauces like “sweet chili dip” and “spicy basil-mango dip”. Good for a fun night out with friends, but the food should not be the main attraction. just something to keep you occupied while you re-connect and relax. manage your expectations.

Peace & Blessings,

LaShanta

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The portion sizes aren't the only reason for that - they were designed by the same architect.

It does not surprise me that Bangkok Joe's was designed by Cheesecake Factory's architect - it is an attractive, impact-based design, and the lighting in particular is impressive.

My young dining companion and I had a late dinner at Bangkok Joe's after a workout. I walked in and immediately asked our fine server for two glasses of water which I gulped down with desperation.

Recently, I complained about $10.50 cans of 22-ounce Sapporo, but at Bangkok Joe's they're only $7.25. On the non-alcoholic beverage menu, one drink stands out and is highlighted in bold: Our famous! Fresh Ginger-Lemon Iced Tea ($3.25) is a great sipper, with pronounced ginger, but it is extremely sweet, so don't use this as a thirst-quencher.

Bangkok Joe's is known for it's dumpling bar (on the outside glass, it even says "Cafe and Dumpling Bar"), and I suspect they sell a lot of the Assorted Dumplings ($17.95) platter which is an attractive presentation, with two-each of everything, highlighted by two pairs of dumplings: the shrimp dumpling (atop a creamy, sherry-esque, bisque-y sauce) and the consensus-favorite mushrooms and ginger dumpling (atop something resembling a peanut-based sauce). On the sides are two pairs of potstickers, the chicken, and the winter squash; and a pair of pork and crab shu mai. This was a beautiful presentation, but came with a drawback: despite the restaurant being fairly empty (it was a miserably cold, rainy Wednesday which turned out to be the single wettest December day in Washington, DC history, with 3.1 inches of rain), and despite these apparently being made to order at the dumpling bar, they just weren't hot enough - none of them were. In particular, the pan-fried potstickers were barely above room temperature. Towards the end of the platter, my astute young dining companion, who was craving dumplings on the way, said something to the order of, 'I'm going to bet we'll walk out of here tonight thinking that the dumplings should have been the best dish, but I'll bet the next course will be our favorite.'

He was right, and if you glance into the kitchen on your way to the restroom, you can see why: a gentleman was in there cooking with a wok, and anything that sounds like it's going to be wok-fried might be your best bet here. An entree of Mussamun Tofu Curry ($15) with rectangular prisms of fried tofu, wonderfully grilled-tasting portobello strips, orbs of potatoes, leeks, and winter squash, a light dose of onions and peanuts, and a cylinder of jasmine rice, all served on top of a mussamun curry, was a vegan's dream. This was a very good, satisfying plate of food that, between the tofu and peanut-based sauce, was packed with protein despite being vegan.

Overall, between the atmosphere, friendly service, food ranging from decent to very good, and a check that came in under $50 (okay, $50.70 because I got a second beer), this was a nice place to have a comforting dinner during a nasty winter rainstorm.

Cheers,

Rocks

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Just did "crispy" pork belly bahn mi take out.  Not at all impressed.  Good baguette. But very, very sad amount of meat, which, while good in and of itself, was not at all crispy, and was totally overwhelmed by the slaw (cabbage, carrot, bean sprouts, and dressing -- and I can't stand bean sprouts), pickled cucumber, and avocado.  Didn't expect a traditional bahn mi based upon the fusion concept of the restaurant, but expected more, particularly as a fan of the earlier Bangkok Joe's.  And terrible value, for what might as well have been a veggie sandwich.  Anyone been and explored more of the menu?  I work half a block a way, so want to like it.  But totally underwhelmed by this first experience unfortunately.

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Mama Rouge closed for renovation in December 2015 (Facebook).   The restaurant is now re-opening as Bangkok Joe's (again) on April 7, 2016, with a revised menu (Washington City Paper).  The article says:

Bunyarataphan says that Mama Rouge was too modern at a time when diners are craving traditional foods.  So at the updated Bangkok Joe's, she's introducing several more traditional Thai dishes and not shying away from authentic spicy and pungent flavors.
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