The airsoft store was having a Wednesday/Thursday Black Friday sale, so I decided to check it out after work, and as it just so happened to be mere blocks away from Vietnam House, that was where I ate. However I should preface this review by saying that my favorite Vietnamese restaurant is a little place called Dakao in San Jose. Whenever I'm in San Jose, which used to be four days every year for the past five years, I would eat there one or two times a day. While a large part of that hinged on its proximity to the convention center, they have a variety of dishes and their food is also good. My favorite thing to get there is the shredded pork and baked egg pie on broken rice. So back to Vietnam House, as there aren't an abundance of Vietnamese restaurants in my area, I know of few options for decent Vietnamese that isn't pho. And of those, I don't know of many that have baked egg pie. But Vietnam House does, and they also have some excellent egg rolls, so onto the meal.
Now read reviews anywhere and people will tell you the service is nothing to write home about. I concur, so don't expect a lot of assistance in that area. Just be pleased if you get what you order, and remember to pay your bill at the register (they don't bring the bill to you so remember your table number). Also it's noisy and they have several Billy Bass on the walls that kids love to play with, so be forewarned.
As for the food, I ordered the egg rolls to start as they are very good. They're grease bombs though, so hold off on taking a bite until they've cooled down a bit. I know it's hard, but better to exhibit patience lest ye suffer a burnt tongue and shot taste buds. From what I understand their egg rolls are atypical of Vietnamese egg rolls which are usually more petite. These are deep-fried, meat, veggie, vermicelli- filling morsels that serve as a substantial appetizer. Accompanying them is a plate filled with lettuce, mint, and beefsteak leaves meant to be wrapped around the egg rolls, but no one should hate you for neglecting the veggies. There are also two dipping sauces, but as I only partook of one, I can only say that the one I had was a light, sweet, fish-sauce based dipping sauce with carrot slices that pairs well with the heavier egg rolls.
For the meal I ate, what else—shredded pork and baked egg pie on broken rice. I also got a pork chop with it. Vietnam House formally calls this plate, "Pork Chop, Shredded Pork & Baked Egg w/ Steamed Rice," or number 77. The dish pretty much says what it is—the pork chop is a soy-sauce-marinated fried pork chop and the shredded pork is that slightly sweet and gelatinous shredded pork mixture used in banh mi. The baked egg is like an Asian frittata, slightly sweet with bits of meat and veggies baked inside. Perhaps it's the Japanese in me that enjoys the baked egg pie which is not too dissimilar from Japanese dashimaki tamago, a layered Japanese scrambled egg seasoned with slightly sweet soup stock. This is what I miss when I'm not in San Jose, so I'm glad I have a suitable replacement for it in L.A. I also enjoy the broken rice, which is less glutinous that Japanese rice but still moreso than Chinese Jasmine rice.
There are plenty of other things on the menu that look good, and perhaps I will try their pho or banh mi at some point. But for right now I'm satisfied with their baked egg pie and delicious egg rolls. And should they ever offer snail soup, I might try that again after a not-so-joyful meal at Dakao. At least I can't complain about them being stingy with the snails.
Some other notes about Vietnam House:
- I really hate those Billy Bass fish. Why would you put any more than one of them on the wall? And why do kids think it's so great to get all of them to sing at once?!
710 W. Las Tunas Dr. #5-7
San Gabriel, CA 91776