Whenever I’ve had Vietnamese food, it’s been in places with fluorescent lights and squeaky chairs…. which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a data point.
Brodard Chateau is not that. It could be a steakhouse or a nice Italian place. The chairs are heavy solid wood, the tables are dark wood with inlaid bamboo, and there is dark wood paneling. There’s also a full bar.
Service is friendly, and extremely helpful.
The grilled pork spring rolls were quite tasty, with warm pork, shredded carrots, cucumber and green onion inside. It was served with a “special sauce” which was slightly fruity. It had some red pepper sauce on the side, which added some heat.
The salt-pepper calamari was nothing short of outstanding. You get large rings of fried calamari that are delicate in texture, but full of flavor. It’s served over large chunks of jalapeno and green onion. These were cut way too thick for my liking. But the calamari itself was fabulous.
The sole noodle soup was light, with large pieces of tender sole in a sea bass broth. It also had fish cake and rice noodles; and it had a very light spiciness to it. Alongside was the obligatory fresh veggie plate, but no basil as one gets with beef pho. And it also comes with a small bowl of pungent shrimp sauce. The waiter explained the shrimp sauce was a traditional accompaniment, and you just add a little to the pho. This stuff was very strong. A whiff beforehand let me know to take it easy on the portion. But it did add a certain depth to the soup, and I would recommend it in extreme moderation.
The winner of the dinner was the sea bass curry. It had large slices of shiitake mushrooms, which were cooked to a perfect texture, as was the fish… tender but not falling apart. There was also eggplant, which layered on another complementary flavor. But the best part was the curry sauce itself. It was so full of creamy curry flavor that it made you want to just drink from the bowl…which was a good thing, as it’s served with that excellent baguette that they make banh mi with. It’s slightly crunchy on the outside and light and airy on the inside; but it still has a good bite to it. And it sops up curry sauce very well.
The barbecue chicken with garlic noodles was a bit of a letdown. The noodles were tasty, cooked in a wok with “secret” garlic sauce applied. But the chicken, while tender and juicy, was riddled with cartilage that required spitting out while chewing.
And the shaken beef, while delicious (albeit a little salty), did not quite live up to the incredibly high recommendation of the waiter. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very good dish. It was just not awesome like the curry, or calamari for that matter. The beef was coated with sweetish, salty syrup, which frankly reminded me of something I might get at PF Chang’s.
For dessert, we had both the strawberry and the banana crepes.
The strawberry crepe is more of a traditional crepe that comes filled with Nutella, with the strawberries and whipped cream over the top. What makes this is the Nutella
The banana crepe is not a crepe in the traditional sense. It looks like an Indian dosa…a large hardened rice crust shell, shaped in a 9 inch cone, with the bananas laid into the bottom with chocolate over them. And when you cut into it, it collapses into banana, chocolate and crunchy shell. It has a nice taste with the chocolate being a perfect match for the banana, but in order to take the first bite, you kind of have to destroy the whole presentation.
We had a very nice dinner. This is a place to take people who you’re not sure whether they’ll like Vietnamese food. The menu is quite varied, and the appetizers really get things off on the right foot.
9100 Trask Avenue (22 at Magnolia)
Garden Grove (Little Saigon)
9100 Trask Ave Garden, Grove, CA
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