Monday, August 10, 2009

Viet Bistro

In the mood for something between Chinese and Thai? This is how Fred describes a new ethnic food for FLO, Vietnamese. Located on the northeast side off of 86th, Viet Bistro is a quaint strip mall eatery with a very friendly owner/waitress who is more than happy to meet your dining needs.

On our first visit, she was very accommodating to Ozzy. We never would have thought of it as family friendly until we saw how tolerant she was of Ozzy's complaints that there was no mac 'n cheese. She went so far as to suggest some good noodle alternative that ended up being Libby's favorite!

For an appetizer, we decided on the shrimp spring rolls. We were shocked when they arrived cold. As in refrigerator cold. It was not a good pairing with Libby's interesting "coconut drink"(which Fred really liked). The rolls consisted of vermicelli, shrimp, sprouts, cabbage, pork and mint rolled with rice paper. Dipped in the provided peanut sauce, the flavor was nice, but the consistency was a little slimy for Libby's taste.

As if to add insult to injury, Libby decided to sample the fish sauce between the appetizer and main course. Oops! It wasn't until a second after the fact that Fred realized what she was doing. She had poured 1/2 a teaspoon of fish sauce into her spoon and downed it. For those of you who do not know fish sauce, it's fishy. And not at all meant to be taken on it's own. Libby only recovered midway into her pho -- eventually even adding a dash or two.

If you haven't tried Vietnamese, you must try Pho(pronounced Fuh). A soup at base, it has so many layers of flavor that there is no way you would repeat the same experience twice. A pile of noodles rest on the bottom, with meat options to add, some veggies in the broth, then a great dish of fresh herbs, lime, and bean sprouts on the side that you can add as you wish. And don't forget the great condiments at the table; hot sauce, hoisin, salt, pepper, fish sauce or Maggi.

One thing that would be nice is some sort of tutorial on how to season it... and eat it. It comes with a spoon and chop sticks. We saw a table nearby who looked like Pho Pros, but sadly, we had already eaten and missed the opportunity to learn pre-lunch. Apparently the correct way is with two hands. One for the chop sticks, one for the spoon. Definitely an acquired skill.

Ozzy's dish was very much like thai. His noodles were stir fried in peanut oil with some veggies, peanuts and tofu yumminess that was reminiscent of pad thai...Ozzy may not have dug on it, but Fred and Libby like!

Having never had Vietnamese before, FLO cannot say that Viet Bistro is the best Vietnamese food around. But it was definitely enjoyable and a place to which we will return. As for Ozzy, hopefully he won't be getting a happy meal on the way home again... :(

Wrap Up
Price- $-$$$, Can be very economical, depending on what you get.
Atmosphere-***, Did not look like a strip mall on the inside.
Service-****, Great personal service with a sense of pride and ownership.

Fred - B, Definitely a positive first Vietnamese experience. Somehow I expected it to be more "out there".
Libby - B, Being a true lover of thai, next time I will try their more spicy options.
Ozzy - N/A, Although he tried the noodles, nothing would suffice for the finicky boy.

Viet Bistro on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We lived in Minnesota, where there is a sizable Vietnamese population and lots of wonderful Vietnamese restaurants, usually holes-in-the-wall, so had some misgivings on our first visit here. But the food and service were wonderful, and we've been back many times. The cold spring rolls you had are not my favorite either, bit they are authentic. Next time, try the Vietnamese version of the ordinary fried Chinese egg roll, but be warned--they're addictive!