Little Saigon dinner - finding Brodard's
A word to all who are meeting up at Brodard this evening -- the restaurant is located in the back of the mini-mall, behind the 99 Cent Store. Drive all the way around to find the entrance (it will look like there's nothing there but keep going). See you tonight!
FYI -- 19 hungry (dare I say, drooling?) souls arrived at Brodard's, appetites and tastebuds ready. Kriss had the tables set up in a large horseshoe. Dishes started at both ends of the horseshoe and were passed around so that we were able to sample everything; although I believe I didn't get to taste Adrian's goat. (ahem, Adrian, hogging the goat for yourself, eh?) Stephanie and Kevin sat dead center, so they probably lucked out.
We pre-ordered appetizers for everyone,:
Banh xeo is described on the menu to be like a pizza, but trust me it isn't. It's more like an omelette or a very fat crepe, slightly crispy on the ouside, sweet and creamy underneath with shrimp and sprouts and I'm guessing some coconut?
Banh Khot was a small cup made of dough related to the banh xeo but firmer, with a shrimp sitting in the center (by far my favorite and I'm guessing that was the general consensus.)
Chao Tom is like an eggroll before it's been fried, a rice wrapper around shrimp (paste? sausage?) and (help me out here) some said sugar cane (although it didn't taste like that to me) and lots of raw veggies like scallions and things I can't identify. Kriss and I had previously eaten the same dish with pork, and the shrimp wins hands down. The pork tasted like mild, uninteresting sausage to both of us.
We also ordered the Banh Tom Lo Ngu (I can't read my own writing but it's close), fried yams with shrimp, a dish Kriss and I had eaten elsewhere and liked. It was even better at Brodard. All the appetizers were served with sauces (peanut, mild sweet sauce), as well as mounds of lightly pickled carrots, vegetables, and a variety of different tasting fresh herbs, from minty to hot and spicy.
Each of us ordered a main dish and then shared with the people around us. I ordered the Com Nieu Tu Xuyen, the hot pot. It was a pot of rice topped with pork baked in a very mild sauce (and a few pieces of squid were hidden in there). It was one of my favorite dishes, although Susan who sat next to me thought it was too mild. (She accidentally got the same thing when she pointed to the woman on my other side and said, "I'll have the same thing she's having.")
The food was wonderful! Everyone was blown away when the bill came, and with tax and a very generous tip it was $15. per person. A long drive and worth it.(Perhaps next time some of us L.A. westsiders will carpool?)
re: Sandra W.
Sorry about the goat! I had intended to pass it around, and even offered to group around me. Initially, they appeared to be a little grossed out about it, considering most of the goat meat was composed of blubber/skin and bone. It definetly was the worst dish in termns of visual presentation IMO!
Later on, another gentleman from our group (school teacher from Santa Monica? sorry, I forgot his name) gave the goat a try, but didn't seem to have any comment. I was almost embarrased by my choice.
The odd thing about the goat, and other curry dishes was that it was only in the 'Breakfast' section. Is it customary for the Vietnamese to have curry for breakfast?
Interestingly, it was nothing like Indian, Thai, Japanese, or European curry. It did resemble Malay or Indonesian curry somewhat, but it wasn't exactly the same thing either. There was some additional spice in there that I couldn't recognize. Although I didn't care for the goat meat, I was also served a bagette that went suprisingly well with the Vietnamese curry, better IMO even moreso than Indian curry with Naan bread.
I'll probably be going back to Brodard sometime next week to see my mechanic again. I'll try to check out the curry with other meats, and maybe even the breakfast omelette (not the Bahn Xeo).
re: Adrian Hopkins
Well yes kinda.
We Vietnamese would cook curry for lunch or dinner and save the rest in the fridge overnight. The next morning for some strange reason after heating the curry in the microwave, it taste even better than fresh! maybe the spices and herbs seep into the flavour overnight...?
We usually do this with our beef curry stews (which has taro or potatoes/cassava and carrot slices)...
mmmmmmmmmmm and it taste so good dipping French bread into the sauce lol.
Wow, thanks Sandra and Kriss for doing the prepatory leg work for the event! Kaboodles of kudos!
For all those who come to this thread late, or were unable to make the feed, Brodard is worthy of a trip anytime, accompanied by a kennel of slavering Chowhounds or otherwise. Whether you are just stumbling wide-eyed through another of California's amazing immigrant communities, searching for an unheralded hybrid cuisine, or hunting a good target site for the end of a bycycle competition--any excuse will do!
We sampled some 6-7 entrees and 4-5 "appertizers" (the traditional misspelling) and absolutely all of them were flat-out delightful. Incidentally the misspelling du jour was "beef severed with rice" and other incarnations of "served" which gave an interesting ghoulish quality to the food descriptions.
Be advised they have no liquor license. You can bring your own (accepted practice), or do as Nancy and I did; sidle up to the likes of Jenise and Bob Stone mewling for a few mind-blowing wine samples!
Nancy and I live in Santa Ana and had a pet project when we first moved here a few years ago. We would eat our way down 17th/Westminster from Bristol to Brookhurst, hitting every single Vietnamese joint. Then down Brookhurst to 1st. Before we got pooped and moved on to other self-indulgent hobbies we probably ate at 30+ Vietnamese restaurants. We concluded with 2 or 3 we really liked and return to.
Brodard blows them all away in spades. Goo-gobs of spades. A garden supply store worth of spades.
Brodard - 9892 Westminster Ave., #R, in the Fortune Shopping Mall at Brookhurst and Westminster. Telephone is (714) 530-1744. Hours: 8am to 9pm. Closed Tuesdays.
re: Gerry & Nancy
Yes, it definetly was great dinner! Thanks again for all those who organized this event!
Although I've been to Brodard before, going with the group gave me the opportunity to check out other wonderful dishes that I had previously overlooked. Some of my favourite appetizers included the shrimp in coconut flavored cup pastries, the shrimp in yam fries, the rice paper spring rolls. I didn't care too much for their fried spring rolls, and their Bahn Xeo omlette seemed to be more crispy the last time I was there (but it was still good IMO, especially with the thick peanut sauce).
For main dishes, the chopped filet mignon was probably my favourite. The Hot Pot was also excellent, and I quite enjoyed the curry goat I had. The curry was great, and went well with bagette. However, I didn't care too much for the tough meat. Perhaps I will try the curry with a different meat next time.
In the end, the bill came out to be a mere $15. I really consider it a bargain considering you had the chance to try out so many diff dishes from the menu, and would probably have to spend the same amount if you were eating there alone, limiting yourself to only a few dishes.
Wasn't there some talk about doing another group dinner for Russian food? If so, we should definetly do so! Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help out!