Binh Minh Quan
I have gone to Binh Minh Quan twice last month after they reopened. It was a long three-month remodeling project. The new atmosphere is slick. I would take a date there. I was there for lunch and dinner.
First, I do not think their lunches are expensive (Im looking at their menu now). Their lunch special includes four dishes at $5.58, four at $5.98 and one at $7.98. We had Roasted Chicken served with pickle cabbage and carrots, fist sauce (at $5.58) and Combination in Clay Pot pan fried pork, chicken, squid, shrimp with garlic and mix veggies served with baked fried rice in a clay pot (at $5.98). Both meals are served with steam rice and soup. It was a lot of food. The roast chicken was very good crispy and moist inside. We really like the sauce, not over-powered with fish sauce. The clay pot rice was very enjoyable, slightly burned on the bottom (this is the key). I was impressed.
I took my wife for dinner on a Saturday night. The place was patronized by mostly Vietnamese. Most ordered sliced meat that you grill at the table (with butter) and you eat it with rice paper (you dip it into a bowl of hot water) wrap with an assortment of veggies and dip in shrimp sauce. Another popular dish was fire pot. You can select from a variety of favors: hot and sour, Thai, catfish, seafood and goat. Hot pot serves with rice vermicelli.
The grill serves two (priced around $16.00), I think is also reasonable. It can be used as appetizer for three or four persons. We have beef marinated with lemon grass oil. I wanted to try the venison or wild boar, but my wife was not that adventurous that night. Next time, I would venture into the hot pot. Anyone care to comment?
The problem with Binh Minh Quan is the menu is huge with 143 items. The key is how-to put together a complete multi-course meal. The waiters were of no help here, you are on your own. They have some many great dishes, I keep wondering why bother with 28 collection of broken-rice plates. Perhaps, someone care to share the significant of broken-rice in a Vietnamese restaurant. Oh, they do not have a wine list. Maybe they will cork yours for free.
I love Binh Minh Quan. Its my favorite neighborhood hangout.
I usually order the wraps #69, the pork or chicken are GREAT.
When I bring friends with us we normally order the roasted catfish. Their raw beef is fabulous! My husband loves the broken rice dishes though...the pho is good, but nothing compares to Vi's.
I've linked below a report on our Chow Lunch outing at BMQ in July of 2004. Be sure to read all the follow-up messages. We did not have "broken-rice" dishes, and I too await an explanation of the significance of the rice-breaking.
It's hard to believe it was so long ago. Sad to say, I haven't been back since.
I had been there for dinner previously, and there was no problem at bring-your-own wine. Of course we brought glasses and corkscrew also.