Vietnamese Restaurant

"Hello my friend" is the catch phrase that always greeted us when we used to dine at Vietnamese Restaurant when they were located on Cambie at King Edward. They eventually moved one major street to the East to their current digs on Main and "hello my friend" moved with it. In fact, subsequent visits has yielded "hello my brother" and from the female staff, "hello my sister". With such salutations, would it be impolite to ask if the food is on the house? After all, we're all family right? Well, apparently not, since there have been various complaints about their Entertainment coupon not being accepted with open arms. To be fair, I've never had this problem, so either it is luck or they like me? No idea.

Well, the reason we were here was exactly that - the Entertainment coupon. It was set to expire in one day, so we figured we should use it. Good thing too since the prices here are quite high for a Vietnamese restaurant. So with kids in tow, we chose a couple of items that they could eat. We started with the Vietnamese Steamed Crepes (Banh Cuon). Although the filling was pretty good, the rice flour noodles were thick and hence made the rolls dense. Not a huge problem, but I've had better. When our next dish arrived, we were a bit shocked as to the serving size. The Hot Pot Chicken Rice Pilaf was amazingly meager in size considering it was $11.00. To illustrate my point, think of it as no bigger than a chicken rice at Dim Sum. Usually, those only go for around $5.00 at the most. At the very least, this was a pretty great tasting chicken rice. The combination of chicken, ginger, onion and wood ear mushrooms afforded several layers of flavour and texture. Too bad there wasn't enough rice underneath to soak it all up.

To think that was a small portion, the Pho was even worse. Don't let the picture fool you. There was the equivalent of a small rice bowl of noodles in the broth. In fact, the noodles you see in the picture is all we got. Furthermore, the meat was barely there and the soup was salty. Not a good Pho at all. At this point, we were still hungry and decided to try something different in the Chicken Grand-Mere Farcie. Despite the fancy name, it was merely a chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms, onions and ground pork. I wanted to like this, but it was woefully overcooked, dry and bland. It took effort to finish it. The only good thing was nice crisp exterior. So really... Did I end up saving any money with the Entertainment coupon? Nope. I had to order more food just to get full. The portion-to-price ratio was quite poor. Furthermore, the food in general for this particular meal was not that appetizing other than the rice. And with that, there wasn't enough of it! Personality and schtick can only get you that far in restaurant-land. Good food and decent value are important too.

The Good:
- Entertaining manager
- Some interesting items on the menu

The Bad:
- Poor value
- Food is hit and miss

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