Friday, April 18, 2014

Review: ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen (various locations)

It's like Chipotle, but Asian.

Salad bowl with grilled chicken satay, eggplant and thai basil, papaya slaw, extra thai chilis, and tamarind vinaigrette on the side

Even though a lot of people have a Chipotle addiction, I never understood the appeal of it and was in fact quite proud of being able to somehow navigate against its mysterious, addictive properties.

So I thought. I'll openly admit it: My name is Xinwei and I am a ShopHouse addict.

Because I attend college in the DC area, a trip to ShopHouse is quick and convenient and I have visited both DC locations (there is one at Dupont Circle and one on the intersection of M and 29th Street), but I personally prefer the one on M, just because the people who work there are so sweet.

Opened by the same company, ShopHouse has the same setup as Chipotle: choose a base, add a protein, a vegetable, a garnish, a sauce, and you've got yourself a delicious, customized bowl. So far, there are only a few locations in California, Washington DC, and Maryland, but I am sure that just like Chipotle, the idea will catch on quickly and soon have shops all across the United States.

What I really like about ShopHouse is that everything is clearly marked in terms of spice level and vegan/vegetarian and all the ingredients are extremely fresh. In fact, a lot of times, I see them wok-frying everything right in front of me; they make everything in small batches, and so no matter what time of day you go in, you are sure to get freshly made food. Oh, and they have dozens of bottles of sriracha lined up along the walls. My one complaint is that they seem to never have the herb salad around.

Service is extremely friendly and helpful. I once got the tofu and papaya slaw, and the girl making my bowl made it a point to ask if I was vegan or vegetarian and made sure I knew that the papaya slaw contained fish sauce.

So far, I have tried the salad, rice noodles, chicken, tofu, eggplant, broccoli, green beans, tamarind vinaigrette, papaya slaw, pickles, thai chilis, and crispy garlic. What I really like about the salad is that instead of the traditional spring mix, ShopHouse also adds in napa cabbage to give a unique, sweet crunch. Of everything else I tried, I also really enjoy the eggplant, broccoli, chicken, and always ask for extra chilis. I love my spicy food!

TLDR: Tons of fresh food, customizable, go check it out.

ShopHouse on Urbanspoon
ShopHouse on Urbanspoon