Nam’s of Bethesda wasn’t the first place you’d pick if you were looking for classic Vietnamese food, but the restaurant understood its mandate: Give MoCo a taste of the complex cuisine in a soothing, friendly, non-threatening way. Even better, chef Dune K. Huynh knew how to use fish sauce to its fullest effect. Her ginger salad was absolutely transformed with a careful application of nuoc mam, which lightly coated a plate of lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and other greens. “With ginger in (the nuoc mam), you can’t smell the fish,” she explained to me last year in a column about the mysteries of fish sauce.
Well, Nam’s is no more.
After a decidedly mixed experience at Mia’s Pizzas on Sunday, I noticed that the pizzeria’s next-door neighbor was closed up tight. Black plastic covered some of the windows, but not all of them. I could see Nam’s old black chairs unceremoniously stacked in the corner and lumber littering the entrance. A sign taped to the window promised a new place that will serve “exquisite Thai cuisine.”
It’s so exquisite that its name appears to be—-drum roll, please—-“Thai Restaurant.”