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Question about TenPenh

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I went to TenPenh for the first time last night. I liked the atmosphere, my friends and I enjoyed a nice selection of very good appetizers, and the cinnamon donuts with bittersweet chocolate sauce was an outstanding dessert.

The selection of entrees, though, was very limited. They had roughly a dozen entrees, all but three of which were seafood dishes. Of the remaining three dishes, one was vegetarian Pho, and the other two dishes were both spicy. I'm generally a fairly adventurous eater, but I don't like seafood, can't tolerate spicy food, and wasn't in the mood for soup last night. I was very surprised that their menu, despite having so many options, was so limited. One of the people dining with us, who has lived in DC for over ten years and has been to TenPenh on a number of occasions, advised that TenPenh changes their menu occasionally but nearly always has a "theme" food or spice which, if you don't like it, you're out of luck. Have others found that to be the case? I liked the appetizers and dessert enough that I would like to go back, but only once they have a few non-spicy, non-fish meat entrees.

Incidentally, the waiter advised that only one of the meat dishes, a lamb chop, could reasonably be made without the spice. The lamb itself was fine, but the portion was relatively small and the accompanying giant mound of mashed potatoes was made with wasabi. The mashed potatoes were spicy enough to cause me some mild pain, but I did manage to eat most of it.

Is my friend right about their "theme" menus? Can I expect to get, say, a nice, non-spicy chicken dish if I go back in a year or two?

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TenPenh
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20004

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  1. I would highly suggest looking at menus and calling to talk to a manager or the chef of someplace before you arrive if it looks like a problem. That way accommodations can be made before dinner prep that night.

    I don't think they will ever serve roasted chicken as they are a pan-Asian restaurant that is there theme, but with more notice they could probably accommodate you by making most dishes non-spicy, but it is hard when they only know during the middle of a busy dinner service and have already marinated, and prepped much of their food.

    1. IME, they don't change their menu much. I'd guess at least 2/3 of the menu hasn't changed in the last 6 or 7 years. Between that and the fact that service was not good last time I went, I've sort of crossed it off my list. I agree you should call or check the menu before you go back.