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Nov 4, 2000 09:00 PM

Excellent Worcester Vietnamese: Bamboo Hut

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We just got back from Worcester, Mass., where we had an excellent Vietnamese meal at the Bamboo Hut on 1394 main street. What stood out was the extreme care with which everything was made and presented -- the food was very un-generic. We had salad rolls, fried quail, papaya salad (very fresh and crisp, lots of Asian basil), a grilled beef sandwich, salt and pepper shrimp (light crust, head on, dressed with bird chilies, crushed rock salt, and scallions), non gloppy stir fried lemon grass chicken, and a wonderfully smoky and succulent pork chop, not the dried out shoe leather that many places serve. (All of this -- a hefty dinner for 4, with 2 desserts, came to $56!) It was the equal of m ost good NY vietnamese, and I would not hesitate to compare it even to New Pasteur.

The owner couldn't have been nicer. He warned us coming in that the kitchen was small and that if we were in a rush, we should probably think of having dinenr elsewhere. The result was a leisurely and pleasant dinner, with dishes coming out one or two at a time. The place is the first floor of a house, done in dark drab green stucco, painted bamboo hangings, and lots of plastic plants. It is very charming in a seedy sort of way, sort of like a low class polynesian escapee from an earlier decade. But the food has nothing in common.

A bonus is that next week, they are going to start serving nutria, the water rodent which has taken over Louisiana's bayous. The owner said that he expects that every Vietnamese person in Worcester will be beating down his door, since it is very similar to a delicacy from home. It will be available in a spicy stew, grilled with lemon grass, or roti (sort of lacque with caramel).

Check it out! Well worth a visit if you find yourself in Worcester.

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  1. Thank you so much for posting this
    just days before a trip to Worcester.
    We sat in what was once the open air porch
    of this three-decker on a night of
    cold winds and blowing snow. A portable
    heater was brought near the table for our
    comfort. The shrimp chips that arrived
    before dinner were some of the best
    I've ever had melt in my mouth.
    The staff was delightful, and although
    we passed on what looked like decadent
    desserts, we felt quite satisfied
    in our dinners of Vegetable Rolls,
    Grilled Chicken Satay, a noodle soup,
    Clay Pot Fish(Salmon),
    and Triple Vegetarian Delight. The soup
    and rolls were served quickly. The entrees
    were not brought to the table until we
    were ready for them, after much conversation.
    Our server was ever present for our
    questions on sauces and menu items,
    but we were in no way rushed to leave.
    The atmosphere is relaxing, bamboo
    curtains with a painted scene of
    what I can only assume is a Vietnamese
    village and *golf* grass on the floor.
    The total for two was $28, not
    including tip. I highly recommend The
    Bamboo Hut for anyone visiting Worcester.