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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Sun–Thu 11:00am–10:00pm
Fri–Sat noon–11:00pm

Features Outdoor dining
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

2934 M St. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 337-4536
Vietnam Georgetown
Pass on this poor performer; there’s much better Vietnamese across the bridge

Here’s a restaurant that’s wasted no time on such a frivolous matter as a title: it’s simply compiled the name of the country (Vietnam) from whence its cuisine derives with that of the city-state (Georgetown) whose residents will consume its dishes. “Vietnam Georgetown,” two strung-together proper nouns, doesn’t even make sense grammatically, but, well, it gets the point across.

Here’s wishing the restaurant had devoted the same sense of utility to its prices. Alas, you’re stuck with the typical Georgetown fifteen: up to fifteen bucks per main course, even though the setting is decidedly downscale compared to that of its neighbors (inside, anyway; outside, there’s a patio that becomes rather romantic at night with strings of lights). Plus, the food comes in clunky helpings (the upside is a lot of bang for a lot of buck; the downside is leftovers you’ll avoid in the fridge).

Although Vietnam Georgetown does, at times, seem to harbor some desire to serve authentic food—there are sour soups, Hue grilled beef, and caramel pork with lemongrass—this is ultimately more of a Chinese-American restaurant than anything else. With some of America’s best Vietnamese food lurking over in Falls Church, just a few miles past the Key Bridge, it is embarrassing to the District that this place should be taken seriously serving tossed salad, sweet-and-sour shrimp, and chicken fried rice.

Among the dumbed-down dishes, we favor the crêpes, which are very large, but cooked to the ideal golden brown. Their fillings aren’t up to snuff, though. A “Vietnamese Crispy Crêpe,” for example, is filled with shrimp and pork in peanut sauce that is somewhat weak, and many of the ingredients (e.g. mung beans) seem thrown on as an afterthought, rather than integrated in any meaningful way.

Another disappointment is the “Five Vegetables Rice Noodle,” which comes not only with five vegetables (dominated by broccoli) but also with three types of meat: shrimp, scallop and pork. While the scallops are soft, fresh and plump, the oversized shrimp taste as if they’ve been sitting too long in the fridge or freezer. The various versions of pho are pretty bland, too, lacking that rich beefy goodness and herbaceous aroma.

Keep walking—or, better yet, metro-ing, taxi-ing, or driving—because there’s far better Vietnamese just around the corner. Here’s a start: keep going all the way down M Street, and take a left at the big bridge.

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