For many, Chipotle changed the conception that all fast food is garbage, despite the fact that you now have to live in a dumpster to afford getting guac there. Now, the man behind the burrito empire is trying to do the same with Thai, at ShopHouse.
DC's getting the first of what, one can only assume, will be a nationwide, Southeast Asian empire in ShopHouse, which plates a small, accessible menu of that region's best in a counter-orderer with hickory benches, a Thai Coke machine, and walls lined with Sriracha bottles, so it's not just you who always gets too much of it! Bowls are their bread and butter (not that either are necessarily used): first choose a base of jasmine or brown rice, or chilled rice noodles, then add a protein (grilled chicken satay, pork/chicken meatballs, grilled steak, organic tofu), veggie (Chinese broccoli, eggplant & Thai basil, long bean, spicy charred corn), sauce (spicy red curry, green curry, tamarind vinaigrette), garnish (green papaya slaw, pickles, herb salad), and topping (crispy garlic, toasted rice, and crushed peanuts). They've also got banh mi, with freshly baked Upper Crust bread housing green papaya slaw, herbs, crushed peanuts, and your choice of protein, meaning you can skip the Muscle Milk in favor of the Muscle Mi.
And so you can tell your grandson "I drank a beer at the first-ever ShopHouse", they're also hawking authentics like BeerLao, Chang, Singha, and, errr....Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA -- just don't spend all your cash on them, lest you end up like the one of the molé people.