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19 Market -Vietnamese Modern-San Jose

SanJoseHound | Mar 24, 200606:13 PM

Wednesday night we went to a Vietnamese-Modern restaurant in downtown San Jose called 19 Market. It reminded me of Anise Cafe which has the same type of cuisine & decor: low lighting, dark wood, modern clean lines. If I had to choose I'd pick 19 Market - the flavors of the food were a little better. Just a disclaimer - my Vietnamese cousin-in-law calls Vietnamese-Modern cuisine "Americanized Vietnamese"... but I happen to like it. Our choices were definitely not exotic, but comforting & satisfying. We began with an order of Imperial Rolls, which from the looks of them, look like the traditional ones we get at the corner Pho shop. But wait! The cha gio rolls have crab meat... and shrimp... definitely a different, and better taste than the regular Viet egg roll. I could have eaten more of these-only two per order. Our entree came out next, the speciality of the house: Bo Luc Lac, or "Shaking Beef": filet mignon cubes in a delicious sauce with garlic, soy sauce, onions & black pepper. Yummy, the beef was tender & exactly how filet mignon is supposed to be, not slightly dried out & chewy like we've had at other places. We ate this with HaLong Bay mixed fried rice. The menu said "Tiger prawns" but what really came out was regular shrimp, along with one baby scallop, pineapple, mushroom, egg & bell peppers. I loved the seasoning of this fried rice and wished it didn't have so much "stuff" - but my husband loved all the "filling". A minor service glitch happened at that point. I asked about the Crab Puff appetizer that never appeared. Our enthusiastic waitress rushed back to the kitchen like she forgot to place the order. Then she came back to tell us "They're having technical difficulties with the crab puffs but they should be out shortly." They did appear minutes later and were the only disappointment of the night. How can you go wrong with dungeness crab, cream cheese & water chesnuts fried up in a wonton wrapper (definitely not Vietnamese, but still...)? You can go wrong if the whole combination turns out bland and tasteless. 19 Market saved the meal with our dessert: Banana Flambe. The bananas, which were sauteed in butter, sugar, & almond slivers came to our table still flaming with Myers rum. We extinguished the flames too early in our eagerness to eat it, so the rum taste was still nice and strong. Overall it was a pleasant experience, and convenient to have the free (after 6pm) parking garage just steps away.

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