After a bit of deliberation, the lady and I decided against going to Colonial or Pasteur, instead sticking to Argyle for some Vietnamese w/ her folks in this weekend. A tiny bit of research from old chowhound posts led me to Hai-Yen.
We arrived a bit later than our reservations, but that was no problem. The room is what you would expect, a bit cleaner than most of the other joints on Argyle, but still very simple. All the tables on the first floor were full when we sat down.
We ordered massive amounts of food (apprx 6 apps and 5 entrees I believe?), and I'll try to run down most of the dishes (forgive my lack of vietnamese names most of which I've already forgotten, I'll do my best). Service was helpful, guiding us through our different dishes.
Catfish Porridge- one of the better dishes of the night. Light fish flavor accented the really homey, filling porridge w/ chunks of still toothsome catfish floating around.
Omelet-type dish filled (again, forgive me!) w/ Shrimps- one of the best parts about our meal were the copious amounts of fresh herbs (mint, purple basil, basil etc..) and greens that accompanied some of the dishes. We're talking pounds of fresh greens! This dish was no exception- Tremendously fresh dish, from the shrimps to the herbs. Wrapped in greens, dipped in the carrot and heat laced sauce this was wonderful.
Salt and Pepper Shrimp- Yes, a chinese dish (I think?) but no matter, it was excellent. I recently had them at Three Happiness, and as comparison, the Significant Other like Hai-Yen's better, while I really couldn't make a determination. Both were tremendous. Hai-Yen's S&P Shrimps had a bit more batter and used the dried red peppers rather than Jalepenos at LTH. Another winner of the night.
Beef/Pork Noodle Soup (ben bo...???)- A traditional- solid.
Beef Fondue- Maybe one of the only dissapointing dishes. The beef looked great raw- nice thin slices, but the cooking did little for flavor. Although again, this was served w/ rice wrappers and tons of herbs and garnishes which made for a nice assembly-style freshness.
Chicken Curry- The curry had a deep clean flavor, with a slight sweetness prevailing. Tasty and a bit different than any thai curry I've eaten.
I'm skipping over some dishes, but suffice it to say, this was a perfect choice for a family-style dinner. I'll make it a point to say service was tremendous and very helpfull since I noticed some posts in the past that were negative in this respect.
We also ordered hot tea, some bubble teas and post-dinner coffee to the tune of $85 for 5 people and amazing amounts of food.