Vietnam 2 is a branch-off of Essex's Vietnam Restaurant. The original is very near my workplace, so I'll sometimes head over for pho and coffee on my lunch hour. Last month, the proprietor told me they'd opened a second restaurant in downtown Burlington--and they served a dim sum brunch! (The location is absolutely prime: the first block on Church Street past Main.) I've missed dim sum in Burlington since fire ruined Five Spice Café, so I was looking forward to this meal.
Short version: I was happy beyond my expectations, especially for a new restaurant venturing into Chinese and Thai food beyond the owner's presumed comfort zone. Everything was at least OK, and there were some absolute standouts. My wife and I remarked on how empty the place was (only one other table when we first got there, though business picked up), but the whole street was practically deserted--I think it was too cold and windy even for Vermonters. The vegetable buns were OK if uninspired, the chrysanthemum tea an interesting choice that I don't think I'll order again. But the rest of it! Delicious pork shiu-mai and steamed buns, a garlicky hot sauce that made a great accompaniment to chicken/vegetable dumplings, homemade mango sticky rice for dessert! I'm sadly allergic to seafood--doubly so today, since my wife was most impressed by the seafood dishes. The steamed mixed seafood balls had that toothsome chewy texture (not to everyone's taste, but she loves it) and sweet shrimp taste. The shrimp shiu mai, stodgy at too many restaurants, were delicate and ethereal. My wife's a chef; she was pleased that they seemed to be putting real care into the food, not just stuffing a few of the same fillings into different forms. I'd also like to note that the service was exceptionally good--knowledgeable, polite, and willing to go the extra step to make sure I stayed away from foods to which I'm allergic. We were really pleased with Vietnam 2 and hope to bring friends back soon.
169 Church St, Burlington, VT