Sunday, March 18, 2007

You sure you want to eat that?

If you’ve never been to Eden Center in Falls Church, Virginia, you need to get in your car and see it for yourself. With more Vietnamese restaurants per square foot than anywhere else outside of, well, Vietnam, the Eden Center boasts two restaurants in the Washingtonian’s 2007 top 100 restaurant list. So looking for a new and exciting place to eat, we headed to Eden Center’s most popular restaurant, Huong Viet.

Much like my favorite Pho place, Pho 75, the décor is minimalist to the extreme. Tables, chairs, and a few pictures on the wall – this restaurant lets its food do the talking, and what you hear is going to depend on what you ask for.

Taking a look at the menu, you’ll find yourself almost overcome with the number of options. With over one hundred and fifty dishes on the menu, unless you arrive with a specific meal in mind, you’re going to need some time to order.

We started off with an appetizer of the roast quail. Certainly enough for three people to share, the quail was well seasoned, but a little rough and over cooked. It seemed a little overpriced for $9, and I would probably get one of the less expensive options next time I’m feeling the need for a starter.

Our entrees were all interesting in their own respect. I ordered the caramel fish hot pot, which one of my friends was persuaded not to order – and when I say persuaded, I mean the waiter took his time to talk him out of ordering the dish, asking him if he had ever had it, and then shaking his head like he was ordering fish eyes covered in cat brain. In the end, the hot pot was the right choice. Moist, flaky fish covered in a salty yet sweet caramel sauce; tossed with rice it was almost like a dessert – defiantly worth the $10 I paid for it.

Evan, the friend who was talked out of the hot pot, instead ordered a sweet and sour shrimp soup, which was much more deserving of a warning than the hot pot. The broth had a very strong and overwhelming taste of what seemed to be a mix of garlic and ginger, and the soup itself was filled with tomatoes, shrimp, and a variety of other vegetables that I simply couldn’t identify – including one that looked like honeydew, but was simply inedible and had the consistency of an old sponge. The broth seemed to simply overpower everything else in the bowl, and I’m pretty sure Evan regretted his choice after the first bite.

Marc, the third of the three of us, got what he so accurately described as, “the most American dish”, which was basically just chicken and onions in a lemongrass sauce; it was tasty, but nothing exciting enough to write home about.

When our food was finally consumed, it proved to be a bit of a struggle to obtain the check. It took me asking our waiter four times to finally get a response – the restaurant was busy, but there’s never an excuse for having to ask four times. In addition, the restaurant only takes cash, and there aren’t any ATMs near by, so come prepared.

The experience we sought was certainly interesting, eating a foreign food in a foreign place – the food was inconsistent and the service was poor – I’m not quite sure Huong Viet deserves a ranking above such restaurants as Jaleo and Kaz Sushi, but it just might deserve another visit – if only to have another bite of that caramel fish.

Huong Viet
6785 Wilson Blvd
Falls Church, VA 22044-3302
Huong Viet doesn’t have a website

1 comment:

Molly said...

Jill...does this mean that rubystone is dead and gone forever? i always liked that blog!