Rising from the ashes of 14th and U Street’s beloved Blackbyrd comes a phoenix of a different nature entirely; the latest Hilton brothers endeavor, Vietnamese concept restaurant Hanoi House, has evolved into a darker, fuller establishment with a menu that’ll get your mouth watering.
To those familiar with the brighter, mismatched Blackbyrd–a D.C. staple with the charm of being both a raw bar and a dive bar–the new interior might come as somewhat of a shock. Gone are the white walls; the tables and bar are pitch black, accented by bright red chairs and muted blue walls plastered with hand-painted Vietnamese pattern as well as modern OBEY street art. It’s a mix of old and new, taking much of its design inspiration from traditional Vietnamese dining establishments.
The menu is just as traditional, with a wink and a nod to modern cuisine. Marvin’s executive chef, James Claudio, is no stranger to northern Vietnamese cuisine. The menu was created by Claudio and his grandmother, Lap Claudio, who taught him the art of Vietnamese cooking in their family home, and features Vietnamese standards that have gotten us as excited as we ever have been for hearty spice in Winter. Enjoy Banh Mi with chicken, beef, pork or fried tofu, as well as three types of Pho and Vermicelli noodle bowls. (And might we add, it’s all very affordable.)
In addition to its Vietnamese classics, Hanoi House’s cocktail program–created by The Gibson’s mixologist, Brendan Murphy–is also inspired by the region’s flavors. Enjoy cocktails like the Silk Road (tea, ginger, vanilla, tamarind, coconut milk and old rum) or the Singapore Sling Redux (pineapple, cherry pomegranate, hibiscus, lemon, orange, juniper and spice).
And just like the Gibson, the music program was created by Eric Hilton (of Thievery Corporation fame, of course), making Hanoi House the perfect spot for a bite and a cocktail to warm you from the cold all in the comfort of one immaculately designed new restaurant. For now, the new digs are only open for dinner, though in the foreseeable future, it might just open its doors for a Vietnamese weekend brunch. (As if it could get any better.)