There have been several postings about the closure and the reopening of this Vietnamese restaurant in Oakland. It is by far one of the best and most authentic Vietnamese restaurants in the Bay Area, and many of us were in shock when it closed about four months ago. I actually asked several neighbours for information...
Well, the owner (Jenny) and her family have redone the place so it is like a mini Le Colonial! An amazing improvement over the old dreary decor that kept people from going in.
The food! I have gone three times since it reopened. The menu is essentially unchanged, and the prices have not changed and remain (I think too) low.
The broken rice dishes are amazing in their variety. The texture of the rice with the shredded pork or grilled chicken, or pork cake is the perfect lunch dish. Add the lotus root salad with the perfect combination of sweet and sour!
The Banh Xeo pancake is the best I've had including Saigon. Crisp and soft, steamed and fried, sertved with fresh mint, basil, lettuce and other vegetables and herbs...
The7 course beef includes some of the most interesting and tasty dishes. Bo La Lop beef in lot leaf is redolent of the herb, like a grapeleaf or lotus leaf but stronger. Bo Cha Dum beef patties were a new discovery for us. Little cakes made with vermicelli. The Be Thui is a tartare with rice powder that has a soft consistency and a complex salty and sweet taste.
The Catfish (roasted) is unique to this restaurant (as far as I know)and creates a hard crispy skin that covers the soft mild meat that appears almos steamed.
I could go on about the beef or chicken salads, the hot pots or the clay pots (pork and ginger!!!!)or the simple rolls, but I think that people get the idea that this is a place that is a must for all of us.
Jenny said that the location is not conducive to good business because there is no parking and it is a block too far from the office area for lunch. I for one would gladly walk many more blocks to eat here! She put in all her savings to open this wonderful oasis and I hope she is successful for my own gluttonous motives!
Bink Minh Quan
338 12th St