After seeing all the positive reviews for Bodega Bistro both here and in the local papers, my boyfriend and I decided to eat dinner there last night. When the menu arrived I saw his face fall; he doesnt eat pork or shellfish and the menu had that in spades. Also, all the reviews mention the shaking beef (which is how I sold him on the place) and it wasnt listed on the menu. Thankfully, I remembered that a Chowhound pointed out that you have to ask for it. We ended up ordering both of our dishes off the menu the shaking beef and the lemongrass chicken (mentioned in the SF Chronicle review as a dish to avoid, but we like lemongrass, and it was one of the few dishes my picky boyfriend could eat).
Anyway, the lemongrass chicken was served as a large piece of grilled breast meat chicken with some green onions sprinkled on top, and a little fish sauce on the side. It wasnt much to look at, but we both liked the subtle flavors.
I knew to look for the crucial dipping sauce of lemon and pepper for the shaking beef that Felice mentioned in her comments on Bodega. The beef arrived with a small pot of pepper on the side. I requested some lemons as well limes were brought to the table and I concocted the dipping sauce. Felice was right it made all the difference.
Both dishes were quite good, but we had no idea how much they would cost. They came to $6.50, I believe, for the lemongrass chicken (its an item on their lunch menu so it might have been the lunch price), and $8.95 (or $7.95?) for the shaking beef. It was pretty damn cheap for a place with a nice quasi-upscale vibe. Its even one of the cheapest Vietnamese meals Ive had. I did have to beg for the check though (the service was quite lacking).
My boyfriend said it was no Le Regal in Berkeley (he loves their BBQ beef vermicelli bowl), but he still liked it a lot. Were not sure it was so amazing that well drive up to from Millbrae very often though.
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