A tour of Asia populates the menu at the white-stucco’d basement joint called Huiyona on North Capitol Hill—Korean kim chee, Filipino adobo, Japanese udon, Chinese steamed pork buns, Vietnamese green papaya salad—but then every dish is tweaked a little sideways to provide a novel edge. So the adobo takes the form of pork shoulder sliders; the steamed buns become little pillowy tacos filled with crisped pork belly, hoisin glaze, and house made pickles.
More often than not, the food is lovely and intelligent and delectable.
Even a recent special of bouillabaisse featured all manner of fish, cooked with loving restraint, done up in a buttery broth robust with feisty Asian spices.
If only the sense of place held more appeal: It’s dark in this long narrow space, and feels awkward. No amount of warm hand towels or toothsome amuse bouches or affable servers can cure that. The place was near empty on our visit.
Here’s hoping half-priced bottles of (under $40) wine on Thursday and Friday nights can, because this is fascinating food.