Many moons ago, this tiny non descript restaurant stood on very busy Colonial Drive overshadowed by Little Saigon and other Vietnamese restaurants in Colonialtown. The décor had little or no appeal and the ceiling tiles flaked off. Not so much right now. Over the years Lac Viet Bistro has grown and expanded. The décor has taken a definite turn and landed to define the food. It is an amazing transformation representative of tropical Vietnam.
There are hanging straw curtains that acts as dividers to give a very cozy, comforting, and private feel. In one corner there is a wine display with tropical inspired furniture and instruments. Hanging on the walls are beautiful paintings of various Vietnamese sceneries. In the middle of the restaurant there is a bar that acts as an office? Out of place. To one side of the restaurant there is a private room. The outside patio is a true replica of a street side café. The food has evolved and is more palatable. Way back when, everything was doused in fish sauce. Now, the flavors stand on their own.
Bo Tai Me is thinly sliced tamarind cured beef with basil and crushed peanuts served with a thin rice and black sesame seed crisp. Oh my lovely. This is a beef ceviche-like dish that is cooked in the tamarind’s juice acidity. Raw beef never tasted so good. Knock out!
Chim Cut Quay roasted quails. Tender, juicy, crunchy quails marinated in five spice powder and soy sauce. Perfectly roasted to chew the bones and all. Black pepper and crushed MSG on the side….pass. Sweet little morsels.
Pho Noodle Soup with Tai eye-round steak, Sach bible tripe, Bo Vien beef meatball, Ve Don skirt flank, Gan soft tendon, Chin well done, Nam flank; served with a plate of been sprouts, fresh basil, a lime wedge, and green jalapenos. A bowl of hearty goodness. Perfect beef noodle broth, delicately balanced and steaming.
Banh Cuon Lac Viet Rice Flour Crepe Special with a combination of plain, ground pork, and ground shrimp, seasoned pork loaf, steamed bean sprouts, basil, fish sauce, and ground shrimp on sugar cane. Umami. The pork was simply put–perfection. Wonder if they sell this by the pound? The ground shrimp was split in quarters, wonder what happened to the sugar cane? I was really looking forward to chewing the cane sticks. Oh well. Great dish.
33 Export is a crisp and sweet lager with a lingering after taste. It complements and covers fish sauce well. Although, the first empty glass served had a very odd odor, so was the second glass. I could guess it was from sharing the refrigerator with produce? However, drinking straight from the bottle was fine by me.
Avocado smoothie made from fresh avocados and sweet milk. A smooth creamy mixture that cools the palate.
It is refreshing and pleasing to watch this restaurant grow up and stand the test of time. This is a true testament of a commitment to succeed. Kudos for sticking around and nurturing this admired treasure.