Insatiable

32
Beautifully appointed Mecha Noodle Bar has recently arrived in the NoMa/Union Market District).

Oodles of Noodles

Here’s a fun, delicious newcomer to the Union Market District/NoMa: Described as “Asian soul food,” Mecha Noodle Bar has opened at 387 Morse St. NE, in the Edison at Union Market. At this Vietnamese/Japanese newcomer, a recent lunch brightened up a dreary Tuesday. Diners are greeted by a forest of wooden sticks dangling from the ceiling; they represent noodles, our super helpful server, May, explained. The first DC outpost of a Connecticut-based nationwide chain, Mecha is Vietnamese for “Mom and Pop.”

Bright colors predominate—walls, plates, bowls, glossy blond wood. Peter and I were seated at the counter, overlooking the gleaming kitchen. We began our repast with warm sake, poured from the handsomely appointed, well-stocked bar. Then we perused the eclectic menu of edamame, steamed baos (buns), dumplings, sweet and sour spareribs, kimchi fried rice. We chose a generous order of crispy egg rolls, filled with minced pork and veggies. Accompanying lettuce leaves for wrapping seemed unnecessary, but we used them anyway. I was in the mood for sushi, so I chose hand rolled unagi sushi, two large pieces per order. Swathed in seaweed, the eel was topped with warm rice, an unusual presentation.

Mecha Noodle Bar is a handsome, busy place,
pouring exotic cocktails, wine, beer and sake.

For an entree, we shared a generous bowl of ramen, a savory broth laced with crinkly wheat noodles, chicken slices, scallions, cilantro and a hard-boiled egg. The soup was capped with a slice of seaweed. Another ramen option is kai miso ramen, a montage of lobster, crab, corn and miso. Ramen and pho are both offered with optional add-ons, including chicken, sweet corn, avocado, tofu and lots more.

Our lunch for two came to about $54, before tax and tip. Service was excellent. For hours and more information, visit www.mechanoodlebar.com.

BBQ à la Texas

2Fifty Texas BBQ opened at 414 K St. NW in January to celebrate the wood-smoked barbecue of the Lone Star State and Latin America. The owners. who hail from El Salvador, first brought their culinary creativity and unique blend of cultures to Riverdale Park, Maryland in 2018. Their Mt. Vernon Triangle spinoff seemed especially busy at lunch on Mother’s Day. Nothing fancy here; customers were queuing up to choose a meat, then sides, and finally drinks before meeting the cashier.

After paying, we sat at a picnic table by a sunny window. (Additional seating is provided in a rear dining area and outside.) Both of our lunch orders arrived on one tray, no plates. Utensils are plastic. Written on a chalkboard, the menu offers an assortment of smoky meats (sold by the half pound), sandwiches, and several sides. Beef brisket reigns here; no chickens need apply. After all, in Texas, barbecue means beef. In Tennessee and North Carolina, barbecue means pork. And in California, barbecue is a verb.

At 2Fifty Texas BBQ, both of our generous lunches
arrived on a single tray, sans individual plates.

In addition to a chopped beef brisket sandwich, we selected a half-pound of pulled lamb served on a bed of tortillas sprinkled with red onions and chopped radishes. For a side, we chose “mustardy” potato salad. We preferred the moist beef brisket, which had more depth of flavor. There’s also pulled pork and ribs, American Wagyu beef (sourced from Snake River Farms in Boise, Idaho), turkey breast, and spicy sausages. Among sides are cornbread, mac-and-cheese, coleslaw, plus wine, beer, sodas and lemonade. To add extra zest, the eatery offers two types of tangy BBQ sauce: “signature” and spicy. I combined both.

Lunch for two, including an excellent glass of Chianti, came to $47. 2Fifty is closed on Tuesdays. For exact hours and more information, visit www.2fiftybbq.com.   

Top 25

By the way, 2Fifty is among local establishments named by “The New York Times” list of 25 top restaurants in the DC area. Other Mid-City restaurants cited are Baan Siam (near 2Fifty in Mount Vernon Triangle); Bresca (14th Street corridor); The Dabney, Mita and Oyster Oyster (all located in Shaw), and St. James (U Street corridor).

Italian Offshoot

Mount Vernon Triangle also welcomes Cucina Morini, 901 Fourth St. NW, where Nicoletta Italian Kitchen used to be. The chic newcomer is an offshoot of the well-received, decade-old parent restaurant Osteria Morini in the Navy Yard. Emerging from chef Matt Adler’s mainly Southern Italian kitchen: bruschetta, bodega sandwiches, ricotta pancakes, truffle frittata, and made-to-order cornettos, Italy’s answer to croissants, stuffed with Nutella and other delights. You’ll also find calamari fritti, Spanish octopus with smoked potatoes, squid ink pasta, spaghetti with clams and much more. For reservations, hours and more information, visit www.cucinamorini.com.

Salt & Sundry has moved from Union Market to a handsome, larger space right around the corner.

Sundry’s New Digs

After 11 years in Union Market, Salt & Sundry has pulled up stakes and moved to a new location—right around the corner. You’ll find the larger, attractive new space at 1301 Fourth St. NE. Amanda McClements’ vibrant home décor shop—which carries everything from designer jewelry to clothing to tableware to cookbooks and textiles–also operates an outlet at Logan Circle. For hours and more information, visit www.shopsaltandsundry.com.

Logan Lowdown

Coming soon—if not already—to Logan Circle: Bar Japonais, 1520 14th St. NW. A vibrant blend of French and Japanese culture and cuisine, the stylish newcomer is the creation of the talented team that brought us Bar Chinois, in Mount Vernon Triangle. Among delicacies emerging from the Bar Japonais kitchen: Nojo salad (mixed greens, lotus roots, purple carrots), Negima (wasabi chicken skewers), Unagi (eel skewers), souffle pancakes. The bar will offer innovative cocktails, wine and beer. For updates and more information, visit www.barjaponaisdc.com