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Restaurants & Bars

Mayflower Restaurant, Surprisingly Good Vietnamese Bun

Liz | Jun 5, 200509:24 PM

Mayflower Restaurant, on Ocean at Miramar, bills itself on its awning as a place to get great, old fashioned American breakfasts. They also have a neon sign in the window advertising pho. Intrigued to find such a place while I was working at the chow wasteland that surrounds San Francisco State University, I had to stop in.

Each of the few times I have been there most patrons are eating Southern style breakfasts: pork chop with eggs and grits, pancakes with eggs and grits, steak with eggs and grits--you get the picture.

So far I have always ordered the bun thit nuong or bun thit nuong, cha gio--barbecued pork (sometimes with an imperial roll) atop rice vermicelli with shredded lettuce, grated carrot and pickled daikon, julienned cucumber, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, and nuac cham. They make a very good version of this dish, in large part, I believe, because just about everything is prepared to order. I can hear them cooking the pork and chopping the vegetables as I wait for my order (it does take quite a while to arrive, but is worth waiting for).

I went today and yesterday with my young daughters and learned that they also make a decent hamburger, really good fries, and an awesome rootbeer float.

The fries are almost undoubtedly of frozen origin, but come from the kitchen hot and crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside. As far as I could tell, the float was an iced tea glass filled with vanilla ice cream with a little bit of root beer poured into whatever crevices remained empty. This glass is placed on the table with a straw and iced tea spoon accompanied by the nearly full can of A&W root beer.

Service is friendly and accommodating. Many of the patrons are clearly regulars, as the wait staff would often open with something like, "Hello, I know what you want! Would your friend like a menu?"

They serve the aforementioned old-fashioned breakfasts (with grits if you like), standard American diner lunch--sandwiches, burgers, chili, and a couple of soups and salads--dinners (though I couldn't characterize those as I have never been there at dinner time and so didn't pay attention), and a few Vietnamese items such as pho, bun, and some rice plates.

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