Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Review: Xanh

Originally Posted on 08/25/06

Today, Justyn and I went to Xanh (a Vietnamese restaurant) in Downtown Mountain View. We decided to take VTA there since Juniper has a station right across the street. We left at 11:22am and got there around 11:34am.

Originally I was going to take Justyn to a Hawaiian BBQ place (not Ohana), but I couldn't find it. As we passed by Xanh, Justyn noticed that their food looked really good. So we decided that if we couldn't find the Hawaiian place that we'd go there. After we walked a block in probably teh wrong direction, I gave up and we went back to Xanh.

There was outdoor seating available, but we decided to sit indoors. The decor was pretty modern so I picked up that it was probably an asian fusion kind of restaurant. The hostess sat us in front of the window and it was a little cramped. Our table had less than a foot of space between the other table. I was OK with that, it was kinda cozy that way.

The menu confirmed my suspicions that it was an asian fusion place, but they did have the traditional noodles with various grilled meats and the spring rolls. To drink, I decided on a Thai iced tea. Let me just go on a little rave about that. IT'S THE BEST I'VE EVER HAD. It wasn't as sweet as the "fake" iced tea I'm used to. It had a nice after taste which I can't put my finger on. I told Justyn that they probably brewed their own tea instead of using the instant pack, but he shrugged and said they probably just didn't overdo it on the sugar. I know there's something different with this iced tea, but in any case, it's delicious. If you go to Xanh, it is a must. Justyn ordered some jasmine tea. Boooorrring.

For our entrees, we went with the Power Lunch specials. I figured we were already running low on time since we had to take VTA back to work. Otherwise I probably would've gone with some of their main plates. I orderred the bun thit nuong which consists of grilled pork (your choice of meats), rice noodles, sliced cucumber, sliced green apples (uhm.. I didn't see any in mine), cilantro, mint, carrots (I opted to exclude them), crispy shallots, shrimp crackers, roasted peanuts, and nuoc cham vinaigrette. Justyn ordered the catfish in a clay pot which had caramelized catfish fillets, cilantro, ginger and thai chilies. He ordered his extra spicy, but that's not really news to those of you who know him. Along with our entrees we got to choose which rolls we wanted with our lunch. I had the traditional roll and Justyn ordered the kobe roll. These are like the standard issue spring rolls you get at normal Vietnamese restaurants.

When our rolls came out, mine was served with a peanut sauce and Justyn's had the nuoc cham. We traded one piece each and it tasted pretty good. However, it's not as good as the traditional ones at the Vietnamese restaurants. With the rolls, was served a soup that had basa fish, bean sprouts, chilies, pineapple, crispy shallots, and herbs in a tamarind seafood broth. The first sip of the soup was really good, but as I kept sipping, the more sour and bolder the flavors got. After a while, it started tasting like vinegar. The fish in the soup was really tender though.

After we finished our rolls and soup, our entrees came. The first thing that came to mind when I saw mine was "it looks like a deconstructed version of what I get at the normal Vietnamese restaurants." The nuoc cham wasn't what I was used to, but still decent. The grilled pork was super tender, juicy and had good flavor to it. Justyn's catfish in a clay pot came out and it looked and tasted pretty good. He had a side of steamed rice as well.

In the end, we both finished everything on our plates and were full. The service was not as good as I would've liked. I noticed that a woman outside ordered the same thing I did, and the waitress combined everything on the plate for her. Hmm, I had to do that myself. In any case, it's not a big deal. I'd definitely go back a second time to try their small and main plates. I give this restaurant a 6.5.

Oh yeah, and we did get back to work super late. We had just missed the train as we were walking out of the restaurant, so we had a good half an hour to kill time. I didn't get back to my desk until 2:15pm (OMG OOPS, not.. it's Friday, gimme a break). That also doesn't factor in me having to go poo when I got into the office though. ;)

One last thing. If you're interested in trying out Xanh, here's the address. It's right on Castro.

Xanh Restaurant
185 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041

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