Restaurants & Bars


Sea Dragon (the almost original one)


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Restaurants & Bars Austin

Sea Dragon (the almost original one)

sambamaster | | Mar 16, 2007 09:14 AM

I know this place has been criticized here in the past, or not praised as I think it should be. I've been eating at Sea Dragon since 1987, soon after it opened, originally around the parking lot where a shoe store now resides, I think.

Like any restaurant, you order the wrong thing and you can get crappy results. However, armed with a bit of knowledge, one can have some absolutely terrific chow at this place, to whit:

Couple nights ago went with a buddy before we started packing my CD collection (still not finished!) and we had some wonderful food. (Stay away from the Chinese stuff, in my opinion). We had an "appetizer" of the three course beef, or an abbreviated of the Viet classic, beef 7 ways. three different treatments of grilled beef were served with the ususal Viet salad plate and rice papers for rolling the stuff into your own vietnamese taco (i can't remember the generic name, if there is one). the beef comprised a ground beef mixture wrapped around an onion wedge, ground beef wrapped in, probably grape leaves, though it should be a leaf of "la lot", a pleasant herb...and the third presentation? Not sure, but was yummy, charred and delicious. Here's a tip on these dishes: make sure you ask for the pineapple/anchovy sauce to go with it (mam nem)'s a slightly pungent, fishy sauce, but really sings on these vietacos. They might not want to give it to you: I've been told "American not like that", but insist, it's worth it. other sauces are the usual chile/garlic, and nuoc mam (not really nuam cham which contains lime juice). too bad they don't offer the other 4 ways which include a terrific "fondue" of boiling vinegar for cooking the raw beef slices at the table.

We also had shrimp with black pepper, a preparation they also do with chicken and blue crab, and maybe soft shell crab... The "meat" is lightly battered, then fried, and topped with a "sofritto" of garlic, onion, chiles and scallions. Hot diggity, this is great! It is served with a "dipping sauce" of lemon juice, salt and black pepper--simple, yet perfect. The shrimp was absolutely delicious, not overcooked, seemingly quite fresh and just moist enough. Might just have to go there for lunch today!!!!

Other faves, as I've pointed out here before, include duck with leeks and ginger, a variety of lamb dishes (how many chinese or viet places have lamb in the menu), ginger pork, the various meats cooked in the lemongrass and hot pepper style, the goi cuon, and so on. the whole crab dishes are fantastic, and they usually have softshell versions of those two.

Anyone who's gone here and not had good food might just want to sample some of these. Unless your palate is dead, or just not too savvy, you should have a great awakening to some of Austin's forgotten treasures.

YMMV, etc. But, come on, give it a try! And don't forget to fedex some to me since I'm moving on Tuesday! Help! Wichita Ks has crappy restaurants, or at least that's how it seems so far...

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