Thien An Bo 7 Mon Review
Most little saigon denizins will know Thien An from their location at Harbor and Trask. They now have a second location in Bolsa (and Ward I think? Same plaza as Song Long Bakery). It used to be a supermarket, and then went became a defunct thai restaurant, and now is Thien An. Based on yesterday's crowd, looks like they're here to stay.
I would say it's pretty typical Vietnamese - cheap great food, at the expense of an overcrowded restaurant with overworked staff. Don't get me wrong, the staff are pretty nice and they didn't mess up our order, but things like "timing of courses" and "wiping down tables" don't really exist here.
Efficiency of Staff: 7/10
Overall Service: 6/10
We came by and asked for a table. They weren't taking down names on the list at that time, but instead opted to "find us a table". Note that the hostess(es) were also waitresses and also bussers. This left them slightly uh confused as to who got priority with what table. Anyway, we were seated within 10 minutes; but I would advise you to go with a native speaking individual if you're trying to eat at primetime..
We opted not to have the Bo 7 Mon due to my girlfriend's peanut allergies: we would've had to forgone 3 courses out of 7. We ended up ordering ala cart:
Bo vui Tom Nuong Vi - beef and shrimp on griddle
Goi Tom - shrimp salad type thing
Ca Nuong - Baked catfish
Chao Bo - beef porridge
Beef and Shrimp on Griddle - Good as always. Well marinated, lots of lemongrass, very tasty
Goi Tom - easily one of the best in little saigon. Perfect texture, perfect amount of fish sauce, just absolutely perfect, especially with the fried shrimp cracker thing
Ca Nuong - We usually go to Favori for this dish. In fact, we were at Favori first but decided we didn't want to wait. The Ca Nuong here was just as good as Favori's version. Perfectly good, crispy outside, tender inside. A little oily at the end, but that's par for the course.
Chao Bo - a good finish to the meal. Not a typical porridge, as it's more of a soup with rice and beef instead.
Best part? Only 20 bucks pp after tax and tip.
I'd recommend it to anybody during non-peak times, I would advise you to go with a vietnamese person during peak times.
I would've loved to have the 2 other beef dishes, bo la lot (beef with some type of leaf wrapper) and another beef ball dish, but alas they contained peanuts. I know those dishes would've been awesome.
Overall score: 8/10
Nice review. I know the Thien An on Harbor/Trask well. What I think sets Thien An apart from the other Bo 7 Mon places (Anh Hong, Pagolac) is that the bo la lot are huge, plus you always get both the grilled and vinegar boiled beef dishes. Some places cheat and only give you one or the other, substituting with some other dish just so they don't have to bring out both the chargrill and the boiling water thing.
Also, the baked catfish sometimes has peanuts on it, so if you don't ask for them to hold their nuts, you should be careful.
The new Thien An is at Bolsa and Bushard, where the old Jasmine Thai used to be. It's the northwest corner. I'm looking forward to getting to try it sometime soon. Our favorite is their sister restaurant Hong An at Brookhurst/Westminster in the Fortune Mall. What sets that one apart is that, mostly, it's clean looking. The food is otherwise the same as the Thien An at Harbor/Trask.
Yes, they mainly do beef dishes, there are 3 fish items, one the baked catfish, some fish filets on griddle, and one more fish dish I forget; and then the shrimp on griddle, shrimp fondue, and fried shrimp. I do not recall any other non-beef items there.
I have not had the baked catfish at Ca 8 Mon; I've only been there once, and the experience was so laughably bad that I vowed never to return. (I would've had a better fish meal at Wahoo's)