Last week, my mother visited me after finishing a business trip in Florida, so we were able to try out two restaurants in the Georgetown area: Clyde’s and Pho 75. The two restaurants offered very different dining experiences while reminding me of the connection I share with my mom.
The first place my mom and I went to was Clyde’s, an American restaurant on M Street. I had heard many great things about this place, regarding both its food and ambiance, so I was intrigued enough to take my mom over there. I ordered the lump crab cake, which came with coleslaw and French fries. The crab cake had juicy and delectable local crab, which packed the perfect amount of saltiness that I expect from seafood.
One thing I noticed about Clyde’s — something that frequently extends to American cuisine in general — is that their food was exceptionally yeet hay. For those readers who don’t know, yeet hay is a Chinese concept, which roughly translates to “hot air” that builds up from the food you ingest, generally making you unwell if you eat too much of it.
The idea is that you shouldn’t eat much of anything that’s too yeet hay, which includes typical American dishes like fried chicken, French fries and spicy chicken wings. While fried foods are a huge culprit of being yeet hay, the temperature and spices in a given dish can affect just how bad the food is supposed to be for you. Even my crab cake would be considered yeet hay, but despite this, the food was worth it because of its taste.
After happily finishing my meal, I asked my mom if she liked it, as is customary whenever I take my mom to any restaurant. Her reply: “It was okay,” which is a very classic Chinese mom reply. It’s always so hard to find a good restaurant for my parents; I think it’s because they’re very practical and really value whether the food they ate was worth the price, which made me reconsider how I felt about my meal at Clyde’s.
Like my mom, I found the restaurant crowded, the food too expensive for the quality and the service slow. Despite these drawbacks, however, it allowed my mom and I to reconnect and talk about my life and the events going on back home because of its homey ambiance. Most importantly, my mom said that she likes my articles for The Hoya; I had half expected her to say that they were just “okay,” like our meal at Clyde’s.
The second restaurant I took my mom to is called Pho 75, located across the Key Bridge, in Rosslyn. I had heard a lot about Pho 75 but never had the chance to go for a number of reasons — mainly because I’m too lazy and don’t want to take an Uber there. I’d heard that Hoya students preferred Pho 75 because it’s the nearest off-campus restaurant that has pho that is miles better than the noodle bowls at Epicurean and Company, even if it as one of the best on-campus offerings.
When we got there, it felt like we were transported to another world, a world filled with the smell of beef broth and the languages of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese people. I was impressed with the fast service and short wait — fewer than 10 minutes elapsed between placing our order and getting our food, which is remarkably faster than the service at Clyde’s, where about 20 minutes passed between the time we ordered the food and the time we were served.
What I enjoy most about pho is its no-frills cooking: it’s simply noodles, broth, protein and some bean sprouts. Nothing less, nothing more — you can choose to add sauces, but that’s minimal. From the moment the first slurp hit my mouth, I understood what Pho 75’s hype was about: The noodles were soft, featuring a not-too-strong broth, and the protein was intentionally slightly undercooked — the theory is that the broth’s heat will touch up the meat, allowing it to cook in the soup.
The soup reminded me of home: the times I would come back from trips and eat pho, or when I would eat at a pho shop before a concert or go to pho shops to catch up with friends. I was glad I could replicate that feeling with my mom as we took that time to catch up, and I’m so grateful that she came over for the weekend — and paid for all the meals.
Clyde’s and Pho 75 each allowed me a chance to explore the city’s dining with my mom and experience new dishes and palettes. Though my experience did have some drawbacks, each restaurant provided delicious food and allowed me to reconnect with my mom, both through our conversations and our shared culinary experiences.
Tyler Chan is a junior in the College. Food for Thought appears in print and online every other Friday.