The MSG150 crew was seven lunchers strong today as we headed back past the intersection of Weller and Maynard to find our next spot in the Heart of the DLZ. Just next door to Ho Ho is the simply named 663 Bistro (at 663 Weller). Program note: Semi-vegetarian Rob is back with us after an extended battle with the flu. Welcome back Rob!
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Noodles in Soup with BBQ Pork and Wontons - $5.95
The first time I came here, Geary and I tag-teamed an entire duck. For some reason we thought we could put it away ourselves. But they brought this humongous piece of fowl against which we had no chance. It was delicious, I looked forward to our return.
663 is another bright Cantonese spot with an extensive menu covering soups, noodles, congee, etc. We had a good crew, affording us the opportunity to try a few different things. I wanted to do soup, cause I had such a good experience at Ocean City II with their soup. I ordered the Noodles in Soup with BBQ Pork and Wontons.
They offered three different types of noodles - Cantonese noodles, wide rice Noodles, and thin rice noodles. I opted for the Cantonese, which are the standard. Their soup was fantastic, and the pork was as savory as Ocean City II. It held up well to Mike's Noodle House. I also got to sample some of Rob's Curried Fish Fillet, which was fantastic, and the other assorted Beef and Noodle dishes.
Everything was solid. I'll return.
Luncher: GearyLunch: XO Sauce Pan-Fried Noodles with Sliced Fish + Pea Vine Greens - $7.95 + $9.95
663 Bistro has a medium-sized dining area that is clean with appealing, but muted, decor. Even though it isn't much of a name, it is unusual for a Chinese restaurant to have a name that doesn't immediately identify it as Chinese. And it puts them in the same neighborhood as Travis Shred and his neighbor, The Beast. 663 has a sizable menu and no specific lunch specials (YAY!). The menu selections include noodles, soups, congee, BBQ meats, and various other southern Chinese favorites. I was in the mood for noodles so went with the XO Sauce Pan-Fried Noodles with Sliced Fish. I noticed our waitress delivering a plate of greens to a neighboring table, so threw in an order for some Pea Vine Greens of our own.
Rob's fish arrived first and was a clear winner. He was kind and shared bites. The curry was thick and flavorful. The fish was fresh, moist, and flaky. My XO Noodles were also great. I wasn't sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. It was similar to beef chow fun, except with fish. The fish wasn't deep fried, like Rob's curry. It was just stir-fried in with the noodles, onions, and sprouts. The sprouts and onions gave it a nice crunch and the XO sauce added a tangy flavor. Yum! The Pea Vine Greens were cooked perfectly and were a welcome companion to the heavily noodled main course. The fish balls, however, were a bit too fishy for my taste.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Noodles in Soup with Roast Duck and BBQ Pork - $5.95
The menu for 663 Bistro was pretty damn huge... so I was having a hard time deciding what to get. I thought the 663 was because of their address, but it turns out it's the number of items on their menu... <groan>. I saw some Meat in the Window, so I knew I wanted to get something with that. I opted for the Noodle Soup with Roast Pork and Roast Duck.
I didn't actually get roast pork in my soup, there was a bit of a miscommunication, and I got the Honey BBQ Pork. This little mishap ended up being quite a little pig-tastic blessing. The Honey BBQ Pork is sweet and salty (as opposed to just salty like BBQ pork from some other MIWs), and lent a nice flavor to the soup that it was in. The roast duck was good, but I wish there had been more.
I was going to give this place a solid 4-chopsticks review, until I tasted the Curry Fish Fillet on Rice. The curry sauce was very flavorful and creamy. The bowl that contained the curry was nearly overflowing with fish... they crammed-in at least 2 servings of fish. This is one of the best lunches I've ever tasted, and I'm heading back to this place to specifically get this dish! It was so good, I didn't even mind that the Vegetarian Rob ordered it.
Great prices. Great food. One of the International District Gems.
Luncher: RobLunch: Curry Fish Fillet on Rice - $6.50
I'd been to 663 Bistro once before well over a year ago (and I sat at the same table in almost the same seat), and the dish I had was fairly unremarkable (what Joey got, but sans beef). This time, however, I went with the curry fish fillet, in no small part to Joey telling me, "The curry is pretty good here," and I must say that I won today's lunch lottery (they even served me first!). The curry is actually pretty great -- creamy, flavorful, with a decent kick (didn't need any extra hot sauce) -- generously poured over an ample amount of breaded, tender, and moist flounder, onions, bell peppers, and potatoes. One of the best curries I've had in quite a while, in fact. The pea vines in garlic sauce was a great side dish to the curry -- the garlic sauce was nice and light (a smidge too salty on first taste, but fine on subsequent ones). So, there are great things here at the 663, but you have to choose wisely. Today was my first msg150 lunch in three weeks (I was out sick with a horrible, horrible flu and what have you), and it felt so good to be back that I didn't even mind Adam's feeble attempts at humor.
Luncher: MichaelLunch: Tossed Noodles with BBQ Pork and Roast Duck - $6.25
I had the opportunity to sample most of the dishes on the table and with the exception of Joey's RMV everything was far above average. My noodles with duck and pork, Rob's curry, and Geary's pan fried noodles were all spectacular.
This isn't your usual boring lunch fare with breaded chicken covered in sugar. Fresh noodles, tasty broth, juicy barbeque, and the most awesome pea vines in garlic sauce make this bistro a big improvement over the usual 'lunch special'.
If you consider that this feast cost maybe 10 bucks including tax and tip you will have to agree that this is one of the best lunch spots we've found in the ID.
Luncher: TorreyLunch: Noodles in Soup with BBQ Pork and Wide Rice Noodles - $4.95
Luncher: JoeyLunch: Beef and Fresh Vegetables on Rice - $5.75
663 Bistro Photos663 Bistro
Curry Fish Fillet on Rice
XO Sauce Pan-Fried Noodles with Sliced Fish + Pea Vine Greens
Tossed Noodles with BBQ Pork and Roast Duck
Noodles in Soup with Roast Duck and BBQ Pork
Noodles in Soup with BBQ Pork and Wide Rice Noodles
Pea Vine Greens
Beef and Fresh Vegetables on Rice
Noodles in Soup with BBQ Pork and Wontons
Curried Fish Balls