I really like Vietnamese food and really miss it since moving from SF. I know there are several on the east and west sides, but this place is right near my house and I have been meaning to try it. It’s another one of those strip mall places with a semi-pleasant interior.
Anyhow, the BFF and I were the first ones there, and were alone for much of our meal, although by the time we left there were several tables. I ordered an appetizer for us to share to start—the Bo tai chanh, or thinly sliced rare beef with onion and lemon juice. This was quite tasty. It was thin sliced, quite rare beef topped with a mound of very thinly sliced lemony onions and some spices on top. It was served with light crispy rice crackers that snap crackled and popped when you put anything moist on top (and there was also a slightly spicy sauce to pour over the top). I took a picture of the entire dish as well as one cracker all put together, because you couldn’t even see the beef for all the onions on the serving plate. Overall, this was my favorite thing I had and would order this again. A nice combination of flavors and the crispy crackers were a little addicting. They added a great texture to the soft meat.
For my entrée, I ordered the hu tiu ga, or thin rice noodle soup with chicken. The ingredients were all very fresh, but this soup seemed to lack any real spark. It would be a nice comforting soup to eat if you don’t feel well, but was a little too bland for me, even when I added several different types of seasonings and sauces. The chicken was nice pieces of white meat that were not overcooked, but again, the sum of the parts was just a little too boring. There was also a massive amount of noodles--you could certainly make several meals out of this bowl of soup. My friend had the clay pot rice with chicken and felt the same way about it—just nothing exciting.
It sort of bummed me out because the thing I like about Vietnamese cuisine is the unique flavors that the cuisine has as compared to other Asian foods. However, with the exception of the appetizer, there was nothing really special about it for me.
5763 E. 86th Street