I waffled on coming here tonight but in the end, my love of pork and weird craving for noodles did me in. Bún DC has a big banner outside proclaiming their grand opening, which is what drew me in in the first place, but it turns out that the sign is over a month old. Shrug.
I was starving by the time we got there, so I was none too pleased when we discovered that they have seating space for roughly ten people at a time and were already way over capacity. We waited on the porch outside, where I proceeded to stare through the window with a combination of longing, jealousy, and pure hatred for the people who happened to arrive just minutes before us and snag a table. Bún has patio space out front; I don’t know why they aren’t utilizing it.
We finally made it in, and not a moment too soon. A sizable crowd had gathered behind us on the porch steps. Fortunately for them, we wasted no time in ordering. It was easy after having twenty minutes to examine every corner of the menu while we waited. I sprung for the Vietnamese iced coffee (condensed milk on the side) while my husband got a Thai iced tea. We asked for the shrimp summer rolls, the #28. Pork belly and shredded pork bún, and the #35 crab noodle soup, which my husband believed to be chicken.
Drinks arrived quickly. I appreciate that my iced coffee was a pint class with the individual filter sitting on top, plus an ice bucket. It was good at first (plus who doesn’t love condensed milk), but this is a pretty inefficient way of serving iced coffee since all my ice melted into it immediately.
Our waitress came back to tell us that the shrimp garden rolls were no longer available and mentioned that the shrimp and pork belly ones were an option. It’s kind of sad that they’re pre-made but I guess I get it–the place is small and time is of the essence. We chose to go in a different direction and go with the Chinese sausage ones instead. They were light on the meat, which was a shame because it was like a thick-cut cured salami. The peanut dipping sauce was good but definitely benefited from a few little spoonfuls of chili sauce.
The food was super fast to come out. However, it was only then that my husband found out his mistake–because the waitress had asked us to order by number, he’d mistakenly asked for the #35 instead of #34 and therefore received the vegetarian soup, which he proceeded to eat very forlornly.
It’s sad that the good sear on the tofu went to total waste when added to soup, because the tofu really was good. The bowl was huge and full of veggies, with more crunchy goodness on the side. The broth was gingery but overall fairly bland. This reminded me of some poor Vietnamese facsimile I would have made in my vegetarian days. Faux pho. Phaux, if you will. It’s ultimately his fault for ordering the wrong number, but still pretty unfortunate.
On the other hand, I was brought the actual wrong dish, meant for another table, and you would think we were dismantling a bomb with the amount of confusion and rearrangement that had to be done to amend the issue. I fortunately did eventually get what I wanted, so at least there’s that. It was similarly enormous and had a lot of pork belly. That meat was fantastic too–not a chewy bite in the bowl. It came with a fish sauce-based dressing but also tasted much better with the addition of chili sauce and a little hoisin. It all went together well and I have no complaints about the dish (and definitely could have done worse for $10), but it was nothing super special.
Price: $15 per person.
Bottom line: Ehhhhhhhhhhhhh.