Finally had the 7 courses of beef at the 1st and Nanaimo Song Huong. For once, something that lives up to the hype. And for $25.95. Mad props.
The seven-course part is a mite misleading, as three of the courses come on one plate and are basically variations on a sausage. But trust me, I am not complaining, because there would have been a couple of Mr Creosote impersonations had there been two more separate courses forthcoming.
As soon as the wait staff realized we were newbies they were most helpful in explaining how the various courses worked, especially the first one where you dunk your raw beef in a fondue pot and your rice paper circles in hot water and make a Vietnamese taco. The SO was on his game and immediately recognized one of the side veggies as raw, super underripe plantain sliced thinly (the light green dudes beside the cukes in the pic). He also worked out that the tiny circular slivers that I was so enamoured of were cooked/marinated lemon grass. The wee pickled onions were quite a hit also.
Of the seven courses, we each liked six, and the ones we didn't like did not intersect, so this was truly the perfect meal to share (I liked the "congee" and he didn't, whereas I did not care for the big ol' meatball and he scarfed that puppy down). Our favourites were the raw beef rolls, the beef jerky salad and the sausages with the herbs wrapped around them -- I should know the name of that leaf as fmed has posted on it, but I'll call it tasty :-). All the accoutrements were super fresh and abundant as you can see. We got pretty creative by the end and were wrapping all sorts of wacky combos in the rice paper, which BTW they supply you with loads of, to take advantage of the delicious dipping sauce, which was different (thick but not peanutty) than any other I've tried.
This was a stellar meal in a great setting (note the tiki stylings of the room we were in, which contrasted mightily with the adjacent diner-like room). We will be back to try some of the grill-your-own items, particularly #71 which was being enthusiastically ingested by the table of Vietnamese diners behind us.
Quality of photos is a bit off -- I think the camera may have been trying to focus on the marbly table, or at least that is my excuse :-).