As well as a special little creature lurking under the tables! Follow the white rabbit...
We started with Banh Beo: bite-sized, delicately sweet rice discs topped with nuts. I was excited to gingerly peel them off the plate, roll, and subsequently lather them in a veggie nuoc cham sauce. The texture is a bit rubbery for the non-initiated, but it's another delightfully subtle Vietnamese delicacy.
Next up was a thick rice noodle dish complete with tofu and vegetables. While it wasn't like anything I have ever had in Vietnam (it was akin to Chinese chow fun), we were impressed and devoured nearly every bit before our other dishes arrived.
We ordered stuffed tomatoes, roasted eggplant, and some steamed rice on the side.
While we regularly eat a similar tomato dish at our local veggie spot, Com Chay 27, this veggie version of ca chua nhoi thit was a bit of a surprise. Two robust tomatoes sat virtually submerged in a vermillion pool of overwhelmingly sweet and rich tomato sauce. They were packed full of a bland mixture of vermicelli noodles, mushrooms and tofu. A striking platter to the eye, but the acid punch of the sauce and insipid insides of the tomatoes were a decidedly off-putting combination.
On the other hand, the eggplant was sound - marinated in a sweet soy sauce and roasted to perfection. One of those veggie dishes that has a slightly meaty flavor. Good for quelling those insidious urges to consume animal.
Good food, fair prices, and a decent atmosphere make this a spot to return. But we aren't exactly sprinting back.