Thursday, March 25, 2010

Present Cuisine

If you would have told me 5 years ago that I was eating Vietnamese food, I would have either laughed at your or thought you were lying. Turns out, the more I expand my food horizons, the more pleased I am. I would probably never have picked this restaurant on my own but after a much needed "girls reunion," my close group of friends (still strong from high school!) met up on a Thursday night to catch up.

The restaurant was tucked away in a mini shopping center, surrounded by busy Arlington Boulevard and traffic everywhere. It's hard to spot if you don't know what you're looking for. I was running late straight from a soccer game, and by the time I got there, my friends already were sharing some wine, so I followed the trend and got a glass too (Pinot, I think).

We got the Green Paradise Spring Rolls (Goi Cuon), which were shrimp, pork (which I didn't taste), mint and basil all rolled up in a rice wrapper, served with peanut sauce. These were pretty good but I don't think they would by my first choice. It is, however, a very light tasting dish, so if you're down for something fresh and not too filling-- go for it! I prefer a warmer appetizer, this was served cold. The peanut sauce is great, but we all know I love peanut (butter).

For my entree, I was tempted to order a roasted chicken dish. Two of my other friends ordered it so I figured it was a safe bet. They ordered, the waiter accepted, no problem. When it got to me however, and I tried my order, he recommended something else. Maybe he knew I was a food adventurer. Maybe he was sick of telling the chef "another roasted chicken, please," but whatever the case, he spewed off some rambling about Bo Luc Lac, or Cow on the Open Field, and I obliged. I had no idea what was in it-- other than cow. Turns out, he knew his stuff. This dish was delicious marinated tenderized beef "shaken" in high flames and sautéed with onions. Soo good. The beef was tender, juicy and very flavorful. I didn't even use the dipping sauce that came with it. The presentation was beautiful-- look at that flower! We couldn't tell what it was. It tasted like nothing, smelled like nothing. Maybe it was nothing. Anyway, this is a good lesson. If you're at all adventurous, go with a recommended dish.

Anyway, this is everyone's choice. From bottom center clockwise was my dish, a Ca Tim Nuong Mo Hanh translated to Sunning in the Tropics (my vegetarian/Caribbean friend picked this one...very fitting Liz, always sunning in the tropics!), two of the Com ga Hoang Gia or Imperial Medallion Chicken, which was a half Cornish hen rotisserie style served with fried rice, some shrimp dish I forget the name of (could be Shrimp in the Fresh Ocean), and a fried Shrimp Dish (very tasty) that I'm unsure the name of. Maybe the Red Tamarind Path? Not sure.

Anyway, good choice Amie! It was a great dinner and nothing beats good friends and good food-- seriously! Happy dining!

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