By New Times
By Robrt L. Pela
By Lauren Saria and Heather Hoch
By Deborah Sussman
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Kathleen Vanesian
By Eric Schaefer
By Heather Hoch
In the way of meat, this place did a great job with moist grilled chicken (which tasted faintly of Chinese five-spice), savory-sweet charbroiled beef ribs, and tender marinated pork. To perk myself up and head off a food coma, I slurped up a potent iced coffee with condensed milk.
Right across from Com Tam Than Kieu, look for the cheekily named unPhogettable, an airy, bustling noodle shop with bamboo motifs painted on the wall. While the two restaurants serve some of the same things, such as bun (rice vermicelli) and mi (egg noodle soups), unPhogettable specializes in pho, the aromatic beef-broth soup filled with rice vermicelli.
I went for the pho dac biet bo vien, which was truly the works: thinly sliced rare beef, tender flank, brisket, tripe, tendon, and meatballs. The kitchen was generous with the meat, and the broth itself had a rich, savory taste.
Next time I'm here, I'll pass on the rice paper-wrapped goi cuon rolls, which were stuffed with too much lettuce — and iceberg, at that. Instead, I'll go with crispy fried cha gio rolls, which packed more flavor punch. Deep-fried chicken wings, coated in a lightly crunchy crust, were another finger-licking treat.
Bun topped with fresh, tender grilled shrimp was as good as any I've had, but what intrigued me more was a southern Vietnamese specialty soup called bun nuoc leo. The broth was mildly spicy, with a bit of tanginess that complemented the freshness of two huge pieces of white fish, several fat shrimp, and sliced pork. It also contained noodles that resembled thick spaghetti, but the fish was the highlight for me. Another comforting option was hu tieu hai san, a light pork-based soup with delicate rice noodles and lots of seafood — fish balls, shrimp, calamari, and ribbons of imitation crab.
Without a doubt, Mekong Plaza isn't big enough to merit a full day of aimless wandering. But it still has the essential feature of any good Asian enclave: good food at every turn.
Agree 100% about the rolls at unPhogettable. The cha gio are much better than the goi cuon. Otherwise, I think the restaurant is a winner, and the owner seems to be a great guy who will readily give tips on optimal condiment combinations. I look forward to exploring the rest of Mekong Plaza.