It's not impossible to find noodles in and around DC. If you're looking for punny Thai food, you're covered. (Beau Thai or Thai Tanic, anyone?) The area's Vietnamese scene has standouts in Pho 14 and Arlington's Pho 75. Ramen-seekers can head to the Montgomery County hinterlands for Ren's, or choose any number of joints in D.C. proper – Toki Underground, Daikaya, Taan and Sakuramen to name a few. And Teaism and Sakana offer passable udon.

But whither the noodle bowl? There's a dearth of menus dedicated solely to big, basic, slurp-able dishes – with the exception of DC Noodles, which emerged from a yearlong hiatus at the tail end of November 2013. Rejoice that the construction of the nearby Louis apartment complex couldn't completely shut down DC Noodles' spicy, saucy operations, and we are oh-so-glad.

DC Noodles 2.0 is a bit sleeker and minimalist: gone is the splashy mural. The menu? It capitalizes heavily on the concept of white space. And plenty of space is what they have. The restaurant has also expanded next-door, into what was formerly apparel shop Stem.

Though DC Noodles is ostensibly Thai, its offerings lean pan-Asian and contemporary. The sweet, flaky pumpkin empanadas, a bit of a signature dish, remain on the menu, along with squid-ink spaghetti (pair it with the lingeringly spicy green curry and shrimp). New dishes include innovative "house specialty" noodles, like five-spice duck noodle soup and tempura ramen salad. Really, we would go on and on about all the reasons we're glad our go-to noodle joint has resurfaced – if we weren't so preoccupied slurping up out of our dishes to do so politely.

DC Noodles
1412 U Street NW
(202) 232-8424