Every once in a while it's nice to enjoy a nice dinner out - or in, depending how you look at it. Like my Dad told me a few weeks ago via skype: "Get off the street". Okay, okay. Truth be told I've noshed at TONS of international restaurants in Hồ Chí Minh city..French, Southern Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Texas BBQ, Thai, Nigerian, Lebanese, Israeli...blah blah. I've been keepin' the blogs to stricly Vietnamese commoner's fare up to this point, but globaleats has never been about stagnation. As with life..food moves forward. Don't fall behind, son.
Beyond the price factor, there is a reason the vast majority of my meals come from one trick pony vendors. The do a dish or two, and they do them well. Why would I pay 50,000 VND for Bánh cuốn in a charmless A/C spot when I can dine on a plastic stool where Mrs. Phuong's been honing her fresh rice rolls since the late 80's- for 1/3 of the price. Many of the times while dining in upscale places I finish the meal thinking..'Damn, I would've been more satisfied just going...' But there's at least one restaurant that gets it. Xu.
The menu could be described as Mediterranean dishes and techniques with a spattering of southeast Asian ingredients. I don't want to say 'fusion' because that word is so 2004. There is no fusion anymore. Experimentation with ingredients from every corner of the world is going on in restaurant kitchens all over the globe. Every day. Anyways..the end result here is delish which is all you really need to know.
"rau răm arancini". One of the dishes from the 'bar snacks' menu. Traditionally Italian fried aborio rice balls infused with Vietnamese coriander, rau răm.
Over to the dining table we go. Starting off with a little amusement for that ass. Spoon-sized pre-appetizer play on the Vietnamese southern-style soup 'Canh chua'. With okra slivers and the smallest shavings of fried shallots you've ever witnessed.
Seafood bisque with grilled scallops. Shrimpy, creamy. Everything you ask for in a bisque..even crumbled peanuts!
No, it's not mac'n cheese with fish fingers. We've got some zucchini risotto with a fried squash blossom and goat cheese fritter. Can you say U-n-C-T-u-O-u-S?
A good slice of cow carcass is hard to come by domestically in Vietnam. Once you get tired of this, that is. Lets go with the Aussie rib-eye, with grilled sweet potato and curried fried okra crisps. Count it.
At the end of the night the meal for two came to about 1,380,000 VND. In simpler terms, a touch under $80 US. That's about 100 street meals. Ridiculously expensive by local standards but still a good value for a total of 4 cocktails and five plates of well-prepared grub- not done anywhere else. So there's no diner remorse tonight, just a colon that'll need cleansing in the morning.