Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Gai Ling Way in Chinatown

Stopping to eat during a busy day can be a chore sometimes, 'cuz there's too much to do during the day and not enough hours to do it in. Taking a break from the busy organization of the upcoming art show (can I plug this art show any more??) we went around the corner to Via Cafe for a bite to eat.

The atmosphere is pleasant, playing trendy music and art on the vaulted celings. The restaurant is a narrow format but it doesn't feel too crowded. Choosing whereever we wanted to sit, glasses of water with lime in it were immediately served to us. Awesome. The waitress was friendly and took our orders promptly.
After we placed our order, the waitress came back and placed this on our and sprouts. I'm ready to eat...This was our order of Spring Rolls W/ shrimp, lettuce, cucumber, noodle, basils & sprouts. I loved the peanut buttery tangy dipping sauce that accompanied this appetizer. All the veggies in this were fresh and crunchy, and the shrimp was good. A major plus in my book. This was gone in like 2 seconds.
This was my dish, the #24 - Grilled Lemongrass Steak, Egg Rolls, Shrimp W/ rice vermicelli. I liked this dish a lot, although I haven't had enough Vietnamese food in my life to make the distinction between really good Vietnamese food and not so good Vietnamese food. Regardless, I took no prisoners as I plowed through this bowl of hearty, slightly chewy dry noodles, slightly lubricated by the spicy soupy stuff they included with my meal. I threw a bunch of spicy red hot sauce on here, which made my tongue dance with happiness (I love me some hot sauce). Everything in this bowl was good and felt freshly prepared. I loved the thin slices of beef, finding a few chopped green onion pieces in the mix. The shrimp was plain but the trusty hot sauce did the trick. The egg roll was, well, an egg roll.This is Owen's Chicken Rice Noodle soup, which I later found out was boiling hot when served to him, so when he took the first bite he burned his tongue (this happens too much!) When it cooled down enough it was a great bowl of noodles, good pieces of chicken freshly torn, and the soup was richly chicken flavored.
Ryan got the Beef Ball Soup, probably very similar to Owen's dish except sans chicken - substitute beef meatballs, vietnamese style.
Dean got the Rare beef and beef ball bowl. I think this is really interesting, as the rare beef that is placed in the soup keeps cooking in the boiling broth, so it's perfectly cooked as you carefully lift it to your mouth to eat.

I know this place isn't as cheap as other, more authentic Vietnamese places, but they're still very reasonably priced and the atmosphere is cool (I love the artwork on the walls.)

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