Bangkok Joe's Will Delight Joe Hoya or Your Average Joe
Published: Friday, October 7, 2011
Updated: Friday, October 7, 2011 10:10
What's in a name? In the case of this chill dumpling bar, Bangkok Joe's name accurately sums up the restaurant as a fusion of oriental tastes in a popular, laid-back bistro setting.
Tucked away by the waterfront on K Street, this cool cafe offers covetable, albeit limited, outdoor seating and eclectic interior decor of contemporary tables, chairs and booths offset by traditional paper lamps. Patrons certainly won't find the restaurant to be short-staffed, despite its being a popular destination in Georgetown for lunch and dinner.
Fusing definitive Thai ingredients like bamboo shoots and ginger with unusual elements like basil and sweet squash, Bangkok Joe's menu is an amalgamation of tasty tradition and edgy experimentation. With items ranging from light lunch options to full-fledged dinners, the menu's flexibility lends the restaurant the advantage of being anything and everything a customer may want, from an ideal luncheon destination for cash-strapped college students, to an impressive date spot to a fun dinner party venue for a large group.
Service is snappy and smiley, but don't anticipate getting in and out of the cafe too quickly — deciding what to order can be a lengthy process. The dumpling bar offers unique dumplings and rolls that combine vegetables, seafood and meat with sauces like sweet carrot dip or ginger-lime cream. Because only three to four dumplings are served on a plate, hungry diners should consider ordering two. Each order of dumplings or rolls is under $10, so eat up. Patrons can also order a zingy soup or zesty salad with lunch or dinner. For a heavier meal, Bangkok Joe's boasts ample choices for noodle or rice bowls from curry to pad Thai.
For my lunchtime taste of the orient, I opted for the mushroom ‘n' ginger dumplings and the chicken lemongrass soup. The dumplings made it to the table first, and though I ordered them, I didn't have the heart not to share with my dining companion. One forkful later, I regretted not selfishly hoarding the entire plate for myself; the steamed dumplings were packed with the unexpected, complex flavors of Thai spices and fresh ingredients. My only weak complaint is that the dumpling dough lacked the Italian al dente quality that I have come to expect from noodle products.
The soup was another pleasant surprise for my taste buds. A tangy broth offset by crisp veggies, plenty of chicken, spicy chilies and bamboo was served up in a fun asymmetrical bowl, seemingly designed for picking up and slurping. And slurp I did.
From Joe or Jane Hoya to those visiting or working in the area, Bangkok Joe's is a truly scrumptious spot to try something new or to relish in a Thai classic.