If you’ve ever been on a particular block of 11th Street in Chinatown, you know of the two rival vietnamese restaurants located across the street from each other. On the east side is Vietnam Restaurant, which had a facelift in the late 90’s to become very cute and swanky. Before the renovations, it was quite a dive. On the west side is Vietnam Palace. Now I heard a rumor that they are run by family members who had a falling out and decided to compete against each other. Whatever the reason may be, I’m always up for vietnamese food. It’s so one of my favorites.
I’ve been to Vietnam Restaurant probably half a dozen times, pre-renovation and post. I love it there. This was my first time at Vietnam Palace. I’ve heard good and bad things about it. In the same way I’ve heard good and bad things about Vietnam Restaurant. But I was definitely excited to check it out. We had a large party, and the upstairs, where they put us, was actually quite perfect for this. There was noone else there so we could actually talk and hear ourselves.
I had the broken rice combo, which came with chicken, beef, and shrimp. I certainly liked it. The beef was particularly good. And I have an extreme weakness for the pickled daikon and carrots that you always get with this dish. At Vietnam Palace it’s not julienned, but just sliced into big pieces. That was especially delightful. MF got the bun (vermicelli) with pork and a fried spring roll. It looked damn good. She liked it. She also got an avocado milk shake, which did indeed look like a shamrock shake. She liked that too.
C had never eaten vietnamese food before, and that was in part why we ended up here. To right that wrong. He got the pho bo kho, which is a spicy beef stew noodle soup. He seemed to enjoy it. We were also mighty impressed by his use of the chopsticks for most of the bowl. He didn’t resort to the spoon until nearly the very end (he picked up the spoon early on just for the picture below). Nice job C. He was also quite proud of his recent haircut. And in light of being part of his first vietnamese food experience, I promised to include his haircut in my blog. There he is ladies and gents, the first full back-of-the-noggin that has ever graced this here blog. And a big shout out to supercuts.
There were some other broken rice dishes, some more noodle dishes, some tea that tasted like root, papaya salad, crappy merlot, and on and on. In general, everyone enjoyed their meal. I can’t say that I like it better than Vietnam Restaurant. But I did definitely like Vietnam Palace. I think they’re quite different. Perhaps not in food, but in design and ambiance, and a little attitude. Different strokes for different folks.