The mouth-watering smells that float up to our apartment from Bong Su every night had us thinking...why hadn't we eaten there yet?? So Mr.S and I scrambled downstairs last week for a little Vietnamese pick-me-up of "shaking beef", and all kinds of delicious fare.
Bong Su feels like a lounge; there was no shortage of servers and hostesses walking around in backless tops. (I felt overdressed in a sweater and jeans!) It was a predominantly older crowd that night...a possible sign of wisdom and experience when it comes to knowing good food? Who knows, but I was ready to dig into one of the restaurant's famous appetizers, the Duck Mustard Wraps.
For an app, these rolls were a hefty size, filled with lean and flavorful shredded duck meat, alongside strips of mango and cucumber. And all wrapped up neatly in a leaf of mustard green.
It was served chilled, but now I'm wondering if it would have been better warm... The dipping sauce was certainly a crowd pleaser.
Mr.S's Hoi An Chicken arrived much to my confusion. It looked like a chicken melt (with cheese) which upon tasting, we found it to be a delicious coconut sauce. The mashed plantains were greasy, but had great flavor.
I came for the Shaking Beef, to compare it with the version at the Slanted Door.
Verdict? Definitely less sweet and the portion was more generous here. The flavor was spot on. What it lacked was the char on the meat, that crispy caramelization that occurs when meat hit an insanely hot wok. The version at the SD had this which imparted a great smoky flavor to the dish. Here, I really enjoyed the heavy seasoning on the beef, especially the black pepper, fish sauce and lime juice.
Bong Su's a bit on the pricey side, but you get what you pay for. All the dishes are served family style, so there's no room to skimp. And the flavors are a homerun. Before I forget... my Mekong Martini sealed the deal for me. It was playful, delicious, and not overly sweet like many Jolly Rancher-style cocktails are now. It was a combination of lychee vodka, mango puree, pandan syrup, and what do you think is there a the bottom of the glass?
That's right, boba! Black tea tapioca pearls.
I'd come back for this alone....