I have written about this place a couple of times before but I am kind of in the mood lately to re-post about some of my favorite places. This is another place that hubby and I eat regularly—probably half the time we grab a weekday lunch together, this is where we go.
Typically, our order consists of the Vietnamese pancake and the rare lemon salad (you can read about both in my last post). This time hubby was insistent that we mix it up a bit so we got one of our classics, the pancake ($7.25), and on the recommendation of our server (and pretty sure the “mom” of this mom and pop operation—he’s in the back cooking), we also tried #60 on the menu, the cubed beef rice dish ($8.25).
The pancake is delicious. It’s always good and just such a perfect dish. The pancake is made with rice flour and turmeric (giving it the color) and is very thin with nice crispy edges. The inside is stuffed with bean sprouts, onions, pork and shrimp. My favorite thing to do is to take some of the big lettuce leaves on the side, put some of the pancake into it, drizzle the seasoned fish sauce on top (which gives it a nice tangy flavor), add a little of the fresh cilantro, and roll it up and eat it. Seriously, it’s amazing. It’s big, and we always split it (the picture is just my half), but we always eat every bite.
The cubed beef dish was very good as well. It was described on the menu as “curried” beef with onions, lemongrass and crushed peanuts. I didn’t realize until after I ate it that the peanuts were missing. Regardless, the dish was very good. The beef was cut into slightly larger dices than what you see in a lot of Vietnamese dishes, and was sautéed very hot so that a caramelized edge formed on each piece. There were lots of super tender onions mixed in as well and when you added more of the seasoned fish sauce that came on the side here also, this dish was great. It needs the little extra tanginess from the sauce but once it has it, and you get the light flavor of the lemongrass and the fairly mild taste of the curry, it has a very good taste. The beef is certainly cooked through, but has a great taste due to the way it is prepared. The whole dish is served over nice, slightly sticky rice and again, isn’t bad wrapped up in the lettuce and with the fresh cilantro served with it. I’m not sure if I think it’s better than the rare lemon beef we normally order, but it’s definitely worth throwing into
I have never had the Chinese side of their menu—I have been warned that it isn’t as good as the Vietnamese side—but I really like nearly everything I have had from there. If you like Vietnamese food, and don’t mind a bit of a dive, give this place a shot.
5707 East 71st Street