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Restaurants & Bars 10

7 courses of ___--New Nha Trang, Oakland

Windy | Apr 9, 200412:59 AM

We learned this afternoon from Solly that May Hong, the site of a planned chowdown for 7 courses of beef, was closed. (We're still not sure if it's permanent.)

But undeterred, six of us quickly substituted a visit to New Nha Trang, near Lake Merritt.

Ushering us through a room filled with aspiring karaoke singers and a giant screen TV, our hostess offered us a seat out on the open patio, which was lovely but a bit cool. We ended up sitting in a second room, on the other side of the karaoke, in a room filled with mirrors. Perhaps it used to be a beauty salon.

We were a bit overwhelmed by the choices on the menu, which included goat, deer, and frogs' legs. The hostess (Nguyen?) was helpful and indulgent, even if she tried to steer us toward the higher priced items.

We ended up choosing:
-2 orders of the 7 courses of fish ($21.95)
-salt & pepper shrimp served whole ($9.95)
-eggplant with tofu and basil
-lotus root salad with pork and shrimp ($12.95)
-shaken beef ($9.95)

Everything was served with rice paper wrappers, a bowl of warm water to soak them in, and huge plates of mint, rice noodles, cucumbers, carrots, and radishes for us to roll them with.

We also ordered fresh lemonade and negotiated a bottle of wine Melanie had brought along by saying it was her birthday.

I'll let others comment on favorite dishes, but I thought it was a delicious meal especially for a last-minute substitution.

The highlights were the fish cake (with peppercorns--one of the 7 courses and like no fish cake I've ever tasted), the fish salad, a delicate porridge with catfish, and the flavorful cubes of beef. I liked the salt and pepper and lime served with the whole shrimp. The lotus root salad was the only real miss; we couldn't find any evidence of lotus or pork in it.

Service was warm and friendly and solicitous; we were assured anything we didn't like we wouldn't have to pay for.

The music from the next room was loud and awful; ironically we'd chosen Nha Trang over New Pagolac because Ruth had warned us about the volume of the karaoke.

Total cost per person with tip was $20.

New Nha Trang is at
1611 2ND AVE, OAKLAND, CA 94606
(510) 645-9901

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