Last Friday, fans flocked to the secret opening of ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, in Dupont Circle.Â Tickets for the pre-opening were given out to a select few, who were eligible to sample the new restaurant’s cuisine for free, as the staff went through training.Â Â The restaurant will be open to the public early next week.
Chipotle founder Steve Ells’ new restaurant has a familiar concept, but updated cuisine.Â Customers go through an assembly-line of selection, choosing rices,veggies, sauces, and garnishes based on cuisine from Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia. The restaurant is modeled after “shophouses” in southeast Asian countries, which are small businesses, typically run by families who live upstairs, and run restaurants on the first floors of their homes.
Menu items include bahn mi sandwiches, noodles, and rice bowls.Â The pork and chicken meatballs were my personal favorite addition, as well as the green papaya slaw and the toasted rice topping.Â Curries run the gamut from mild to extraordinarily spicy.
Ells could be seen walking around the restaurant in a black apron, surveying new customers and asking them about their preferences.
The Dupont location will be the first to open, but surely not the last!