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Vung Tau in San Jose has re-opened

pugluvr | Dec 15, 200406:50 PM

And it's very pretty inside. This restaurant was once upon the time the site of an old car-hop Spivey's and still shows the exterior style of that time. But now it's redecorated and refurnished and sort of reminds one of Tamarine, which is owned by relatives of the managers of Vung Tau, in Palo Alto. The color scheme is soothing greens and golds.

Service has been upgraded, as well. While the service before was always speedy and efficient, not many of the waitstaff could speak enough English to explain the terse, nondescriptive menu. Now all are more polished and bilingual to boot.

Said menu still carries all the old favorites, but it has been reprinted to group the dishes into intelligible categories and is much more descriptive. More dishes, I believe, have been added, and the prices are a bit more expensive. Tai, the manager (a delightful, professional gentleman), plans to add wine to the menu, and even asked our advice on what we would like to see served. We asked for gewurtz, pinot blancs and rieslings.

Mr. Pug and I went two nights ago and we ordered:

A new spring roll of their own invention - Chinese sausage, egg, lettuce and rice noodles in a rice paper wrapper. We adored this, as it was an intriguing combination of chewy fragrant sausage, crisp lettuce, thin delicate omelette and some sort of complementary sauce. $5.50

Shrimp, pork and wonton pho for me. A good version, with a not oversweet broth. The wontons tasted like they were made on the premises and the shrimp and pork were generously represented. $7.50

Rice plate with shredded pork, grilled shrimp and grilled pork for Mr. Pug. Thin slices of nicely grilled, glazed pork and fat shrimp were outstanding. I like their delicately pickled fresh daikon, carrot and cucumber they serve with rice plates, too. $11.50

Longon with shaved ice for me for dessert. This was refreshing and chilly, served with a straw to drink up the longon juice as the ice melted in with it. It was more suitable for a hot summer day, but I wanted to try it. $2.75

I think I love Vung Tau more than ever, because the food is just as good or better than it was, and the interior is now one of the prettiest in all of San Jose.

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