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May 20, 2009 09:19 AM

Eden Center

I will be in D.C. soon, and I was wondering if there are any recommendations for the best Vietnamese restaurant in the Eden center complex? Anything with a French influence?



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  1. Best as in most authentic but with little ambiance? Or best as in nicest environment? I haven't tried every place there, but from the looks of it, very few of the restaurants are "nice" in the sense of tablecloths and candlelight. If you're looking for really yummy and cheap, then I suggest Huong Viet. Bring cash, no credit cards.

    2 Replies
    1. re: FoodieGrrl

      I guess best in the sense of most authentic. Thanks for your answer!


      1. re: Flocante

        I used to have two favorites, four sisters and huong viet, but I think four sisters may be gone to Merriefield now. Everything but the quail is better at huong viet and that only just, so I just stopped going to four sisters, though if it is still open it is a bit nicer a dining room. I like the summer/garden rolls, and the caramelized fish in the pot. Their pho is ok, but pho is better elsewhere. Huong Viet reminds me of a restaurant I used to go to east of Ben Thanh Market in Saigon. Kind of clattery and not too new, but people who love their food linger over delicious meals, and you can work your way through their menus meal after meal and still find a gem you have never tried.

    2. If you are interested in going to a hole-in-the-wall place where you will wonder if you are still in the US, with limited or no English spoken but some terrific food, then I am fond of Bay Lo. I go for the miscellaneous salad, which has some vegetables in it that are difficult to place but delicious, the fried goat roll (a misnomer, just goat in a coconut gravy), and the House Special, Bay Lo 7, which is pork, shrimp and meatballs in a savory sauce with vermicelli and all sorts of greenery.

      If you want a more recognisable restaurant that hits all the bases, then Huong Viet has got some very nice dishes including butter frogs legs and an outrageous sweet and sour sea food soup. Cash only, no credit cards.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        Other major winners at Huong Viet include their outstanding take on lotus root salad (the white hairs are from the lotus roots, not a sanitation issue), and all of their grilled meats. This is where I dragged a co-worker who had told me, "I tried Vietnamese and didn't like it." One lemongrass pork ,cha gao, and sample of my lotus root salad later, she was converted.

        My major beef with Bay Lo is that it is likely to be filled with cigarette smoke from your fellow diners. As Steve reports, the food is very good.

        I had been taking people new to Vietnamese food to the slightly more upscale, outer-space themed Viet Bistro, but when we went a bit early on Mother's Day, we thought a few of the dishes had slipped. In particular, the cha gao were really off. Their caramelized fish and baby clam on rice cracker remained up to snuff. We will probably start taking people back to Huong Viet.

        Also, no visit to the Eden Center is complete without the totally out-of-the US experience of Thanh Son Tofu, the tofu, snacks, and sweets cafe just a few doors down from Huong Viet. Their versions of bubble drinks are generally like thick milkshakes, definitely NOT made with the dreaded powdered mixes. They also offer jelly in place of the bubbles---I usually get my coffee (which is not a shake) with coffee aspic rather than bubbles. Get whichever tofu has come out of the fryer most recently, or blow three dollars and get a dollar's worth of each kind.

        1. re: PollyG

          My current favorite at Eden Center is Tay Do. I get the Hanoi style Bun (which I think may be the same dish that Steve describes as Bay Lo's no 7 special).

          Four Sisters completed their move to Merrifield some time ago.

          1. re: Lori D

            I've had a lot of very bad bubble tea at Eden Center (mostly stale tapioca balls, just terrible...haven't tried Thanh Son's I don't think), but the last time I went I tried it at the new place that replaced 4 Sisters. I'm not sure of the name, but it is *huge* and they also have lots of fun snacks and I believe sandwiches as well. They also have a seating area in the back, which is key. I will definitely be returning there.

            1. re: hamster

              Based on the description, I think this is Song Que. I love the bubble tea there. They also use fresh fruit to make fruit smoothie bubble teas (no flavored powder here). They have pretty high turnover of materials given the volume of people that are usually in line buying bubble tea, so only once have I had bad bubbles (not quite fully cooked so a little hard in the middle) there. They do also have very good banh mi here.

              1. re: bluepig1

                Yes, you may be right about the name. I am glad to hear that this place is relatively consistent. I was quite happy to discover it on my last visit. Do you have any specific recommendations on bubble tea flavors, bahn mi's, or snacks?

                1. re: hamster

                  I particularly like the pineapple - really great fresh pineapple flavor comes through. My BF likes the strawberry. I've also tried the taro and it's a wonderful, slightly more exotic flavor that's quite tasty as well. The regular bubble milk tea (black tea) is great too!

                  1. re: bluepig1

                    Thanks! I will definitely check out pineapple next time!

      2. Also consider Saigon Cafe, which is just across the road from Eden Center proper. My one visit there was mind-blowing, and I actually enjoyed it the best out of my experiences at Huong Viet, Viet Bistro and the old 4 Sisters. (Though that may largely be a function of the dishes I ordered.)