Vietnamese in Garden Grove
We are heading down to the Rush concert at Irvine Meadows later today (Wednesday), and thought it would be a great chance to partake of the fine offerings in the area. I am adventurous, my companion maybe somewhat less so. Any ideas for dinner around 5:00 pm? Thanks!
Home-style Vietnamese dishes usually refer to "com phan," where you order a combination dinner served family-style at the table. Some of my favorite places for this are Dong Khanh on Bolsa and Cali Restaurant on Brookhurst.
Otherwise, although you'll find gargantuan menus at all the restaurants, most places are only known for one or two dishes. For instance:
Binh Minh's "bun" (rice vermicelli) dishes
Bo De for Buddhist vegetarian
Luc Dinh Ky for claypot rice
All of these places are holes in the wall, though the menus have English translations and you should be able to communicate with the staff.
Otherwise, Vietnamese restaurants
Concur. Also the rest of the menu at Brodard is large enough where your less adventurous dining companion should still have plenty of options.
They might be crowded at that time.
My other recommendation would be Com Tam Than Kieu, a little further south on the street. Specializing in broken rice, this is definitely the type of Viet place that a newbie could tackle, since rice+fixins is a simple and comfortable concept that they do very very well.
re: Happy Wanderer
Hmmm....Define what you mean by "home-style". As a Vietnamese person, I can tell you right now, virtually none of the food you find in any Vietnamese restaurant will come close to anything Vietnamese folks generally eat at home. For all that can be said about Brodard, they do make fabulous Nem Nuon spring rolls. The place is hopping with Vietnamese people chowing down on them and their banh xeo. There is absolutely nothing that is not authentic about those two dishes, assuming that by "home-style" you mean authentic. Pad thai is such a pervasive dish and the flavor profiles of Thai cuisine are very reminiscent of Vietnamese cuisine that occasionally there is some marginal (and poorly executed IMO) crossover.
I think Brodard is a fair suggestion considering your hitherto lack of exposure to Vietnamese cuisine. There's always the ever popular sandwich and pho places, which are must-haves for anyone wanting to develop some chops for Vietnamese food. To me, those are great beginner dishes and probably the lowest common denominators for exposure to this cuisine, but again those spring rolls are mighty tasty!
re: Happy Wanderer
No. There's no pad thai at Brodard.
There's pad thai at Brodard Chateau, but that's the sister restaurant that you should avoid. You must have clicked on the other link on their website.
There is a difference between the two.
You want the original. The one behind the 99 cent store, in the alleyway, next the garbage bins. This is what I'm suggesting to you.
Brodard Chateau, on the other hand, is very overpriced and aimed at the uninformed masses. And yes, they have pad thai there.