I was pleasantly surprised by my first exploration of Vietnamese cuisine here in Naples/Bonita Springs. With such a small Asian population, it's difficult to find authentic ethnic cuisine. Hailing from Chicago makes me very picky. The atmosphere was nicer than expected from it's storefront in a nondescript mall. Hearing the chef/owner was Thai made me quite skeptical.
Our 2 appetizers were delicious. Shrimp paste on sugar cane was as good as any I've had. It's served with a large bowl of hot water which is used to soften a round of rice paper. Extricate the paste from the sugar cane and roll that in the rice paper along with mint leaves, lettuce, noodles, chopped peanuts and dipping sauce. What could be bad? However, at $13.50 an order, it's quite pricey. We also sampled the shrimp & pork summer roll-fresh roll with shrimp, pork, rice vermicelli, salad and mint rolled with rice paper and served with a Viet version of hoisin sauce. Quite tasty and refreshing. 2 rolls were $5.95.
We both enjoyed the rice noodle salad bowl with grilled lemon grass chicken. The chicken was flavorful and moist, served on skewers atop a bed of shredded salad, bean sprouts, napa cabbage, crushed peanuts, dried shallots, and 2 sauces. $9.50
I thought our 2nd entree was weak. Pan fried fish topped with garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. The server claimed it was red snapper, but I believe it was Hog snapper, which I don't care for. In any case, the dish was bland and the fish a bit overcooked. My next visit I would try fish simmered in caramel sauce, which is a more authentic Viet dish. The snapper was $19.95. I will certainly return to sample more of their dishes.
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