Restaurants & Bars

Chicago Area

A Chow-style Happy Ending

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A Chow-style Happy Ending

mrbarolo | Sep 18, 2003 01:20 AM

Quite some time ago (maybe 6-8 months) I posted a query asking whether anyone had any information regarding the sudden disappearance of my favorite Argyle haunt; the unprepossessing Nha Trang. We had become quite friendly with the owners and had more or less adopted each other when, suddenly they were gone. (Replaced by Tank Noodle, from whom I could pry no clues at all.)

Many months went by with no response as the post dropped further and further down the board and then was split off.

Suddenly, a couple of weeks ago I received an email from a hound who has been lurking and reading, but not yet posted anything herself. (I will assume, therefore, that she wishes to remain anonymous, and won't name her here.) She told me that my old friends had turned up far away at 3711 W. Belmont. I thanked her profusely and finally got over there this evening with my 3 year old, who loved their eggroll and spicy sauces spooned over rice. (The lady who does all the cooking used to make a wonderful soup for him when he had fevers.)

As Nha Trang is just a geographical name, I believe, not anything unique to them, (there is another, shuttered place called Nha Trang on north Clark) I was a bit anxious that this place might actually have nothing to do with my old friends.

Tentatively, we poked our heads in the door and from the window to the kitchen at the far end instantly heard an explosion of Vietnamese, followed by shouts of "long time, no see" and both Mr. and Mrs. rushing out. Shouts, hugs and laughter all around. Mrs. N.T. flew at the baby shouting "Hallo, boy! Hallo boy!" poking his legs to see how much meat was on him and kissing him all over.

Normally, so abrupt an approach from a virtual stranger would send him fleeing for cover, but he just beamed and shouted back at her.

Mr. and Mrs. speak only marginally intelligible english, though they are indefatigable and not the least shy about trying, so it was some relief when their daughter showed up and helped us all out when we arrived at the occasional impasse.

All in all it was a joyous reunion and 100% due to the existence of the board and the people who read it.

In closing, I'd like to recommend the place to anyone who's in the neighborhood. No revelations and no ultra authentic/exotic preparations. Simple, honest, flavorful, inexpensive storefront Vietnamese cooking from some really lovely people.

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