BYT ME: Simply Home
Welcome to this week’s installment of the BYT ME, where every frisé, sautée, filet and brulé is out for itself.
BYT ME GRADING SYSTEM:
0 byts = wtf? i did not sign up for dog-food.
1 byt = edible. would consider eating again if on deserted island or lost in space and running low on dehydrated food and ice cream astronaut dots.
2 byts = decent at best. might eat again if haven’t eaten in a few days and nourishment was between this and belly button lint.
3 byts = eh. would probably eat it again. definitely if handed to me if on verge of fainting from hunger and/or at end of a sloppy evening.
4 byts = tasty. missing something, but not much. would likely order again.
5 byts = heck yes.
This very rigorous restaurant assessment took place over Kristin’s birthday dinner.
Which is to say: drinks were in order.
So, the details of the meal may be a bit blurry. Thankfully – I took notes! And many of them are legible.
In any event, the point is, this review remains relevant, as my tastebuds were no less jaded than usual (even if slightly dulled.)
Simply Home is an elegant little hidden Thai gem on U Street just west of 14th. Often confused with its counterpart down 14th Street, Rice (I think they’re actually owned by the same people?), it’s U Street’s lone nod to acceptable Asian food. That’s right, that little 24 hour “Chinese restaurant” you go to on the corner with the counter behind bullet-proof glass that only serves “shrimp” fried rice, “beef” and broccoli, and one-size-fits all “lo mein” does not count as acceptable Asian food.
Our first course was a round of dirty martinis, followed by a second course of mango margaritas, which were served in tall glasses that look like the kind you get on spring break in Cancun/Jamaica/Acapulco…etc., (long, skinny, oversized, with an umbrella). One can tell how the evening would transpire. We enjoyed our drinks, although BYT’s very own webnerd (love you!), Jason, was disappointed by the poorly stocked bar. Then again, it is a Thai restaurant, which are generally not known for their vast array of spirits. Right? I would say we were lucky they had olives.
At some point we actually got to solid foods.
We split five appetizers between the ten of us. Our veggie, Nina, had the Japanese Seaweed Salad, which she gave 3.5 BYTs for its flavor and texture. (Who doesn’t love a little seaweed!? Reminds me of my lake at summer camp, except with less pee.) The Crispy Crabmeat Roll also won 3.5 BYTs from our very staunch judges, who loved the crispy-ness but felt the stuffing was a little bland. Even the plum dipping sauce didn’t do so much for us, although we agreed was a sweet addition. The Shrimp and Chicken Dumplings were one of the bigger disappointments of the evening, capturing only a 2.5. They were too chewy and bland. And finally, the fresh Vietnamese Garden Roll garnered 4 BYTs – certainly the darling of the appetizers, although nothing we couldn’t live without.
Entrees included another round of dirties, a variety of dishes, and Grace’s arrival! True to form, bright-eyed Gracie of Garutachi, Tease, and Noise Academy fame arrived just in time for dinner to be served. (Um, hello? It takes a little time to look that hott every night.)
Here’s how the main courses went:
red curry roasted duck – 5 Duck can be fatty, and this was no exception. However, your favorite bright young thing and mine, Svet, rated it 5 BYTs for its “spicy delicious flavor.” Served with grapes, green pepper, cherry tomatoes, and rambutan, over jasmine rice, this dish was one of the more interesting ones to come out of the meal for its combination of flavors and textures.
american crab cake and shrimp – 3.5 Mr. Nouveau Riche himself had mixed feelings about his crab cake. At first hesitant to order American crab cake in a Thai restaurant, he went for it for the dish’s interesting accompaniment: avocado, kiwi, and mango salsa with fried taro. Upon tasting, we adored the salsa but were unimpressed by the crab cake itself, which explains its mediocre BYT Me score.
lump crab meat fried rice – 3.5 you’ll recall my mention of a few drinks (see paragraphs 1, 3, 5, and 9.) Unfortunately, my handwriting got a little messy from time to time. My notes on this dish say: “don’t rely oil saturate.” I don’t know what this means. Anyway. It deserved a 3.5. Take our word for it.
indian beef roti – 3 DC’s answer to European fashion, District Line founder and owner, Marshall, gave this dish a middling score for its lack of flavor. It had room the opportunity to shine as a green curry dish, but came up short in taste.
crispy pork – 2.5 Another disappointing dish. The meat was wrapped in something doughy. Ultimately, unimpressive. The only thing that stood out was its “fried goodness.” Fried Goodness can go a long way, to be sure, but not long enough for these discerning buds.
special birthday penang chicken – 4 Simply Home gained some big points for making a specially requested panang chicken not found on the menu, for our birthday girl. But,never one to inflate grades, Kristin gave it 4 BYTs, citing its strong flavor and its surprising lightness.
No birthday is complete without dessert (although I tend to believe that no breakfast, lunch, or dinner is complete without dessert. Diabetes here I come!)
The desserts actually stunned us with their deliciousness. I suppose it could have been that we were on round, like, 17 of drinks, but I don’t think so. The mango sticky rice and raspberry cheesecake were rated 5 BYTs and 6 BYTs, respectively. The only reason the sticky rice got a 5 was so that we could give the cheesecake a 6. They were that good.
Go to Simply Home. It’s good. It was not very crowded, you’ll be well taken care-of, and they won’t hate you for being a rowdy, photo-taking, food-poking, plate-passing, special-ordering, party of 10.
Bec, your Jaded Palate, correspondent;
jaded so you don’t have to be.