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Den of Thieves (Formerly Hanoi House and Blackbyrd), 14th and U in 14UP - Dive Bar by the Owners of Marvin - Closed


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After a friend suggested we meet at Blackbyrd last night before a show at the 9:30 Club, I dutifully checked the dining guide and discovered that this place seems to have been overlooked. I can't comment much on the food, other than to say the menu focuses on small plates of seafood and it has a raw bar with 4-5 kinds of oysters, shrimp, crab legs, etc. My friend liked his salmon rueben a lot, but it was gone before I arrived so I didn't even get to see it (let alone try it). The reason I didn't order from the menu is that they offer a $1 oyster happy hour from 5:30-7:30, and the oysters are very good. Last night, the special featured oysters from the James River that were good-sized, clean, and well shucked (served with mignonette and straight-from-the-bottle cocktail sauce). The beer list was decent too (I had a Rhino Chasers Pils), and there was nobody in there (on a Monday). You can find Blackbyrd at:

2005 14th St NW (near U St.)
Washington, DC 20009
Telephone: (202) 747-2377
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All of the online menus I found are outdated.

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I've searched long and hard for information about Blackbyrd (not to be confused with Chicago's Blackbird), but without much luck. Does anyone know who the chef is? Where the menu is? Or who's behind this place, or when it opened?

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I've searched long and hard for information about Blackbyrd (not to be confused with Chicago's Blackbird), but without much luck. Does anyone know who the chef is? Where the menu is? Or who's behind this place, or when it opened?

Isn't it run by the people who own Marvin next door?

The vibe here has changed a lot sice they opened. At first I felt the were trying to concentrate on the food, and I loved that they had the raw bar. Recently though I've seen a dj in there nearly every time I walk by with my son in the evening, so it's not as inviting for me personally and i haven't been in a while. But I'm glad to hear the oysters are still good.

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Technically, Blackbyrd is not in 14 UP. It's north of U, next door to Marvin. It has two levels. Downstairs is the restaurant, with a long bar that is about half of the space. It's a cool place, decorated with a sort-of old-time apothecary theme. I didn't go upstairs, but I'm told it's more of a lounge. The place is probably like recess for hipsters on a Saturday night, but it was a nice quiet spot on a Monday.

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I "dined" at Hanoi House last night and it was one of the worst meals I've had in a very long time. As soon as the food was delivered to the table, I knew we were in trouble. Vegetarian steamed buns looked dried out and ordinary and tasted even worse. They were not fully cooked, tough on the outside, dry on the inside, flavorless. It wasn't worth finishing. I had catfish in a clay pot, which also looked unappealing from the start. There were a few small pieces of overcooked fish, covered in a thick sauce that tasted more of salt than anything else. My friend had a cabbage salad with chicken. She was delivered a pile of cabbage with a few measly strips of chicken on top. Some limes and seasoning were on the side- she was instructed to mix this together and pour on the salad. The result was so salty that the dish was inedible. My husband had vegetable pho, a huge dish of broth with mushrooms and little else. The only dish that was passable was vermicelli rice bowl with grilled shrimp. My friend commented that the best part of her meal was the slice of cucumber on the side of the plate.

Our server started out strong- she was enthusiastic and full of suggestions about what to order but once the food was delivered never asked how everything was. We debated about what we would tell her, so maybe that's a good thing.

I left Hanoi House still hungry and I don't think I've ever said that at the end of a restaurant meal. Hanoi House may be a nice option for cocktails (the atmosphere is very nice) but don't go for the food.

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I "dined" at Hanoi House last night and it was one of the worst meals I've had in a very long time. As soon as the food was delivered to the table, I knew we were in trouble. Vegetarian steamed buns looked dried out and ordinary and tasted even worse. They were not fully cooked, tough on the outside, dry on the inside, flavorless. It wasn't worth finishing. I had catfish in a clay pot, which also looked unappealing from the start. There were a few small pieces of overcooked fish, covered in a thick sauce that tasted more of salt than anything else. My friend had a cabbage salad with chicken. She was delivered a pile of cabbage with a few measly strips of chicken on top. Some limes and seasoning were on the side- she was instructed to mix this together and pour on the salad. The result was so salty that the dish was inedible. My husband had vegetable pho, a huge dish of broth with mushrooms and little else. The only dish that was passable was vermicelli rice bowl with grilled shrimp. My friend commented that the best part of her meal was the slice of cucumber on the side of the plate.

Our server started out strong- she was enthusiastic and full of suggestions about what to order but once the food was delivered never asked how everything was. We debated about what we would tell her, so maybe that's a good thing.

I left Hanoi House still hungry and I don't think I've ever said that at the end of a restaurant meal. Hanoi House may be a nice option for cocktails (the atmosphere is very nice) but don't go for the food.

I generally don't like to pan a new place. However, I have eaten my last lunch at Hanoi House. I originally went to try the pho, but was delighted to see "shaky beef" on offer, so went with that. Let's just say that one of the most expensive items on the menu isn't even on the same continent in comparison to the "same" dish at Four Sisters in NoVa. Then I went back and tried the pho. It was tasteless and I was insulted by the black-spotted, wilted basil and brown bean sprouts they brought me to add to the proceedings. I am admittedly no expert on Pho, but the stuff at Pho 14 on Columbia Road is just miles better than that dreck. Fortunately for me, Sakuramen is only a couple of blocks away and I have become addicted to their soups, so there is no need to ever go to Hanoi House again to fulfill my noodle-soup jones.

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I had an awful-to-mediocre meal here a couple of months ago and haven't been back.

I generally don't like to pan a new place. However, I have eaten my last lunch at Hanoi House.

I "dined" at Hanoi House last night and it was one of the worst meals I've had in a very long time.

Other than *that*, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln? :blink:

I'm refraining from any Hanoi Hilton jokes, but it's difficult.

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I think it was the first time I've seen a vermicelli bowl where the julienned carrots weren't pickled; they basically had no taste.

Everything just seemed bland, overpriced, and not particularly thoughtfully executed when I was there. I think they came up with the concept because Vietnamese was "hot" and then didn't worry about having someone who actually knew how to, y'know, prepare tasty Vietnamese food. Maybe they figured that they would get crowds because of the location regardless what the food tasted like. Maybe they're right.

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