Thanks to you, "food is love", whoever you are, we went to Nha Trang at 12th and Jackson last night. It's not a place we would have happened upon by accident, but we had a sensational dinner.
We ordered the Bo Bay Mon, a feast of beef cooked seven ways, served as a dinner for two. The seven forms were: thin beef slices to cook yourself, beef salad, grilled beef sausage, grilled la lot leaves stuffed with beef, lemon grass beef, a sort of beef meatloaf, and beef congee (one of the best congees I've ever had in my life). They give you a plate of rice paper wrappers and a huge basket of lettuce, basil, mint, sprouts, and shredded carrots, and you wrap your own foods, then dip in sauce. It sounds like a gargantuan amount, but in reality I don't think there was more than 5-6 ounces of beef per person, if that. It's a lot of little bites of meat, ready for making beautiful rolls with (or messy rolls, in our case). Oh, and this extravaganza costs...drum roll...$14.95. Yep, for two. If you're big eaters, starting with a nice soup would also be a good thing.
We were served by a charming and helpful young woman with impeccable English, which is a good thing, because their menu is HUGE. There were tons of things I'd never heard of and that I want to have explained when I go there again and again. When she realized that we were serious about Vietnamese food she confessed that we had been given the mild version of the dipping sauce, and she brought us some of the sauce as she would eat it, which was full of truly exciting flavors and just gives us another reason to go back soon. Ask for the anchovy sauce, if the dipping sauce you're given is clear and golden - that's the still yummy but tourist version. They also sell deli-style all sorts of Viet food items, again some stuff I'd never seen before.
I recommend this place whole-heartedly. It's a real chow deal.