This place opened on Sunday in the space that's occupied Jann Arden's Arden Diner and a couple of places that have closed in the interim. They've done at least one important renovation by making the tables closest to the windows more visible (how they did this from an architectural standpoint I cannot say- they might have actually replaced the front wall and made the windows meet the floor), and when we walked by yesterday and saw that it was packed, I decided to try it for lunch today.
It was mostly empty, probably because of the off-putting smell of some sort of sealant going in the windows, so I sat in the back. I ordered one order of "spring rolls' (cha gio, with ground pork) and an order of satay chicken on rice. FULL MARKS for both! Spring rolls are handmade, beautifully stuffed, perfectly fried, not insanely burning hot, and more important, delicious. I've tried too many of these to count and I have to say these were the best cha gio I've ever had- yes even better than Noodle King. An order is 4 and they're not the midget ones, so if you're dining alone be careful not to order too much else, like I did...
Because the satay chicken (on rice, not pho ga sate) was a bit pricey at $10.50 but is a massive order. It was in a sweet viet-style curry sauce with coconut milk, lemongrass and palm sugar; it was quite Thai-esque but for the sweetness of it and there was a generous amount of white-meat chicken in it. It was rich, not at all what i was expecting (something thinner and lighter I guess) but what arrived was nothing but delicious.
I'm looking forward to trying more, but for now, I have a new fave for Viet in the west end up Uptown 17.
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