Over on the west side with the intention of trying an Indian place, @indyfoodswap and I ended up across the street at King Wok when the Indian restaurant didn’t open as early as we thought. A friend of mine had recently been telling me how much she and her husband liked King Wok, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity.
I liked the menu a lot—there is Vietnamese and Chinese food, but we pretty much stuck with the Vietnamese side. I love eating with Suzanne because we get to order lots of things and share them all. Which is why I did not order pho, even though a lot of people told me it is their favorite in town. We like to share and noodle soup is somewhat of a challenge to share. Next time, I promise
Anyway, we started off with an order of agedashi tofu ($3.99) which was four squares of tofu that are lightly fried and served in a salty broth that tasted like it had soy and a fish element as well as probably some wine or vinegar. I quite liked the dish. The tofu was smoking hot and had just the exact right crispy exterior. I liked the pieces that weren’t soaking in the broth the best, because they stayed crunchy longer—that way I could just dip in the sauce as I ate it. The broth was really flavorful—one of the most flavorful items of the meal.
We also shared Banh Xeo, or the pan fried Vietnamese rice flour crepe ($6.50) which was a super crispy pan fried crepe that was filled with pork, shrimp, onions, and bean sprouts and served with lettuce and basil on the side. Typically this is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes, and I enjoyed this one, although it was so crispy that it sort of shattered on the outside when you ate it. They also have several steamed crepe options that seemed intriguing. I love the sauce they serve alongside this dish (a traditional seasoned fish sauce) and I ended up putting it on everything—just bumps up the flavor with a little salty, slightly fish taste and a little heat. Also, this thing is HUGE (as you can tell from the comparison to Suzanne's thumb).
We got the Hu Tieu Xao Thap Cam, or sautéed rice noodles with shrimp, chicken, beef and veggies as well ($6.99). The dish was enjoyable, particularly when you added a bit of the fish sauce from the crepe---and really I liked mixing crispy bits of the crepe in there too to give it a little extra texture. The noodles were cooked just right and were not gloppy at all. There were some bits of the meat that were a little tough, but some of them were very good. I enjoyed the bites of shrimp as well. Overall though, flavor-wise, without the doctoring up, the dish may have been a little bland. But all of the dishes together made for a very tasty lunch. And very cost effective as well--you get a ton of food for a very reasonable price.
I would certainly go back. As we were leaving, I laughed because I actually ran into my friend who had recommended King Wok to me and she scolded me for not getting the pho. So, definitely, next time!
P.S. I am really trying to get over to the west side more right now (the construction is done! Yay!). So please let me know your favorite other spots in that area. Need to update my list.
4150 Lafayette Road