Dish of the Week: American Son’s Mexican blue shrimp rice noodle salad

Media Credit: Molly Kaiser | Staff Photographer

American Son's Mexican blue shrimp rice noodle salad burst with umami, complemented by just a bit of heat.

For light, international and American fare, try American Son in downtown D.C.

American Son is located inside of the Eaton Hotel at 1201 K St. NW, just blocks from the White House. Customers can sit inside of the restaurant, an open-air space that features velvet furniture and sharp geometric lightning fixtures, or opt for sidewalk seating outside.

The menu consists of “smalls,” or appetizers, and “un-smalls,” or entrees. The highlight of American Son is its collection of Neapolitan pizzas, like the cured egg ($18), bahn mi ($16) and backyard bbq ($17) pies.

The eatery also offers dishes for vegetarian guests. Some of its meat-free dishes include the fried green tomatoes ($14), accompanied by a cucumber creme fraiche and a summer chow chow – pickled relish – and the impossible meatballs ($18), made of plant-based meat and topped with shaved Grana Padano.

Don’t miss out on the restaurant’s house cocktails, like the “tropical” ($14), a combination of rum, cognac, bourbon, pineapple and citrus. If you make it in time for happy hour – every day from 3 to 6 p.m. – cocktails are $10, draft beers are $5 and house wines are $6. Plus, select menu items like the Meyer lemon calamari with ghost pepper marmalade and pickled cucumber sauce ($8), which is usually $14, are offered at nearly half price during happy hour.

I opted for the Mexican blue shrimp rice noodle salad ($17), a refreshing, chilled dish consisting of rice noodles, pickled carrots and peppers, cilantro, mint and juicy shrimp in a hoisin sauce.

The hoisin sauce that coated the dish was tart, citrusy and bursting with umami, but I wish there was more on the plate. The sauce complemented the noodles, which were dusted with red pepper flecks to add a bit of heat. The shrimp was plump – juicy on the inside and expertly seared on the outside – pairing nicely with the toothsome rice noodles.

The dish was also garnished with a light assortment of crisp and sour pickled vegetables, which added a welcomed crunch and acidity to the dish. And finally, fresh cilantro and mint finished the dish. I appreciated that the dish wasn’t too hefty – I was satisfied after eating the seven pieces of shrimp and pile of noodles on my plate.

We also decided to give American Son’s signature pizzas a try. I shared the prosciutto and arugula pizza ($19) with a friend. The pizza was tasty, and I’d recommend it to split with someone as an appetizer. But the shrimp and noodle salad was definitely the star of the meal, and it’s what I would go back to next time I grab a bite to eat there.

For eccentric dishes you can find close to some of the best sightseeing in D.C., check out American Son.

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