Hey, you got your June in my February! It was almost sixty degrees today as we strolled up the hill to Little Saigon. Our destination today is another Vietnamese restaurant in the same strip-mall as Tamarind Tree and Saigon House. Thanh Vi has a more favorable location than the previous two, being on the street side of the strip-mall. The dumpsters are hardly visible. Rob recently got his training wheels off so he biked over to meet us to show off his new skills and join in on the MSG150 fun.
Luncher: AdamLunch: Canh chua chay - Hot & Sour Tofu Soup - $7.25
We headed into Thanh Vi with 5 veteran lunchers today. The menu was pretty varied, but with these wily vets we were able to get a good sampling of the menu. I'd never had Vietnamese Hot & Sour soup, so that's what I went with.
Right from the first sip, I really liked the broth. Have you ever had a Thai hot and sour soup (tom yum)? Similar broth, but without the influence of a lot of the other flavors. Very clean flavor. I liked it.
The next thing I noticed about the soup was the unidentifiable vegetable that was in it. One of the employees (owner?) brought over a picture of the plant, but couldn't tell us the name. It was good: a light flavor with a slight crisp. The other components of the soup were good, but unremarkable.
The atmosphere of the restaurant was nice. Maybe it was just because the sun was shining, and this place had windows facing the right direction... but the lighting was really nice. I felt like I could really see my food.
Good soup. Good atmosphere. Nothing remarkable though. A solid pick.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Banh Xeo - Vietnamese Crepe with Pork and Shrimp - $6.95
Thanh Vi is large and clean and like Vietnam House it is cheerfully decorated with plastic flowers, nice table cloths, painted walls with decorative accents, and paintings. Oddly the painting over our table appeared to be of Lake Como. Unlike Vietnam House Thanh Vi was mostly empty when we arrived. We grabbed a well-lit table in the corner and studied the menu. It too is large and full of typical Vietnamese favorites. Again I went with the Banh Xeo and again it was delicious. They were a little skimpy on the greens, but the crepe was great. Some of the pork slices were mixed in with the batter such that they got grilled and crunchy a bit on one side. Yum!
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Bun Mum nuoc leo ca sac - Fish Stewed Noodle Soup - $7.50
I was pleasantly surprised by this place. Is that... Lake Como on the wall? Who cares. This food is great. I went with the special - Fish Stew. Thick, delicious broth, heavy flavor, lots of variety. There's some fatty fish in here, whole okra!, some french fried thingies, chinese eggplant, and some noodles. It's a hearty, tasty dish that I'll definitely come back for.
Everything else on the table looked good, too. Next time you're in this area, give this place a shot.
Luncher: RobLunch: Bun dau hu xao xa ot - Vermicelli with Lemongrass Tofu (Spicy) - $6.25
This shouldn't be a hard review to write, but I've been putting it off. The veggie bun was good stuff: tasty chunks of tofu, tasty chunks of veggies, ground peanuts, homemade fish sauce, and the small side salad tucked in. As I was munching my way through the meal, I quickly decided to give Thanh Vi a 4. But then I finished, and I was still a bit hungry (probably because I hadn't had breakfast...). And then I remembered I had basically this same dish at Green Leaf. I'd given them a 4, and their version I liked a little more than Thanh Vi's. Should it follow that Thanh Vi gets a 3? Further, you get a veggie sauce at Green Leaf, but then again the homemade fish sauce at Thanh Vi is really, really nice. The Green Leaf salad had refreshing bits of mint in it, and Thanh Vi's had not-as-refreshing bits of basil. But you usually have to wait before getting a table at Green Leaf, whereas Thanh Vi was wide open and even a touch cheaper. How should I let all that affect the rating? Weeks slipped by as I agonized over this decision, until everyone received a three word email from Emmett, "Waiting on rob." So yeah, should those other things matter? Still don't know, but I'll stop worrying about it and stick with my original rating: 4! Ahh, that feels better.
Luncher: JaredLunch: Bun tom thit nuong - Vermicelli with Charbroiled Shrimp and Pork - $6.50
Thanh Vi PhotosThanh Vi
Thanh Vi Menu
Thanh Vi Menu
Banh Xeo - Vietnamese Crepe with Pork and Shrimp
Bun tom thit nuong - Vermicelli with Charbroiled Shrimp and Pork
Bun Mum nuoc leo ca sac - Fish Stewed Noodle Soup
Bun dau hu xao xa ot - Vermicelli with Lemongrass Tofu (Spicy)
Canh chua chay - Hot & Sour Tofu Soup
Eating Banh Xeo
Eating Banh Xeo II