As far as restaurants go on 14th Street Doi Moi is a veteran, it's been with us for nearly two years now, opening in the late summer of 2013. Yet it took the restaurant quite some time to enter the bustling brunch scene that so many of us crave, debuting the late-morning weekend soiree this past April. It's a more relaxed affair than its neighbors, no bottomless or unlimited plates anything, but an adapted dinner menu featuring more eggs and the usual pricey cocktails. If you've visited the restaurant for dinner you'll find the menu familiar and comfortable, many of the favorites such as Goi Cuon (garden roll), Goi Chai (steamed garlic chive & mushroom dumplings) and Bun Bo Xao (stir fried lemongrass beef with vermicelli noodles) are all available, but it's breakfast you came for so that means eggs and pork.
One could be mistaken for thinking Doi Moi was a seafood joint, upon entering the restaurant there was an overwhelming smell of shrimp, which is featured on the brunch menu but not as much as you'd have expected. It was a tad overpowering but certainly got me in the mood for the crustacean. I was toying with the idea of the Breakfast Banh Mi, filled with scrambled eggs and cha lua ham but ultimately settled with the Banh Xeo, a shrimp and pork belly build your own style pancake, which was light and fluffy with accompanying ingredients of mint, carrots and cucumber. The shrimp lived up to its aroma, firm with a crunch but was chopped up and on the smaller side. The pork belly was pretty scarce with just a few morsels of meat scattered inside the pancake, it would have been nice if these were folded into the cooked crepe rather just folded in like a sandwich.
A dining companion went with the Bo Nuong Xa - grilled lemongrass beef with two sunny-side eggs and hoisin-sriracha (naturally), which was a solid dish and the best on the table. It was your breakfast steak and eggs kicked up a notch.
In true fashion the cocktails were upward of $14, being brunch and no bottomless options I went with the cheapest, the Basil Tea Punch - cachaca, basil, lemongrass (I assume someone here owns stock of lemongrass) and ginger. I'm a huge fan of cachaca and these ingredients compliment it well. I ordered two and was very happy it wasn't a bottomless option.
Finally, the service: perhaps it was the late time in which we arrived, perhaps our server was beat from the rush hour crowd, but he was bewildered and timid at best, needing constant reassurance with what we ordered. This is not a complaint, I think our table were happy to see that there was someone else less with it than us in the restaurant. After clearing away our plates with just the check to be dealt with he asked if we had finished with the soy sauce on the table -- "I think we'll keep that, we're thirsty" should have been our response.
Doi Moi, 1800 14th Street NW, Washington DC (closest metro: U Street)