I'll keep the exhalations to a minimum. This is probably my second or third favorite restaurant in the city proper (the top five would be Aziza, Nopa, Delfina, Tartine and this place) but it's the first time I've gotten to eat dinner--and with a gaggle of people so we got to try a lot. It wasn't bad to see Jack, Nathan and Jascha either. Also not pictured but the booth we had faced out toward the pier where we had a full viewe of the bay and Bay Bridge. Not necessary, but very very nice.
A blow by blow of our Vietnamese fusion (not including the Hong Kong tea (dB found it too weak) or the cocktails (which Jack and Nathan had no complaints as they drank aplenty.)
Asparagus and crab soup. Light, brothy, spring-y. However, despite being good it came between appetizers and entrees and as it was both a physical and mental barrier between us and the fish/noodles to come, Jack and I eventually gave up on good manners and picked up the two communal bowls and drank straight from them. Our asian grandmothers would be proud. Jascha, a good east coast kid, looked slightly agast--or that might have been the exhaustion. Overworked, he nearly slept through our whole meal. Speaking of asian grandmothers, despite having three Chinese kids at dinner tonight, Nathan, our resident gay Mexican, made not a single crack about wanting to be one when he grows up.
Crispy veggie spring rolls. Crunchy and herbalicious.
More rolls, this time fantastically savory with pork, shrimp, fish sauce and a kick of heat. The noodles are made in house and incredibly delicate.
Pork belly. Need I say more? Well those grapes left Nathan and I brainstorming how to get that concentrated flavor while being extra juicy (we think dehydrated at low heat and then macerated.)
Whole fish--perfectly cooked. That sauce was really unnecessary.Also snap peas that are juicy, sweet and just in season. And that innocuous looking noodle dish in the corner is the crab glass noodles. I know it looks plain but they are some of the most flavorful things I've ever put in my mouth. Smoky, flavored like the sea and perfect in every way. These are the things I definitely get everytime I come and what you should too.
If that wasn't enough, there was also eggplant (not pictured-and ok; it was favorful but like from a slightly better than average Chinese place) and this rack of lamb. Ordered rare and served as such (the potatoes and sauce here are also unnecessary for this perfect cut of meat). Just the way I like it. We got some dirty looks eating this with our hands from some very proper ladies on dates a couple tables over. But hell, when the meat is basically bleeding, nothing beats human teeth. The knife will just make a mess of the tender stuff--and you know what? It has a handle.
Goodnight. I need to rub my belly.