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Jan 10, 2010 08:25 PM

Brodard Chateau - Upscale French Vietnamese in Garden Grove

Whenever I’ve had Vietnamese food, it’s been in places with fluorescent lights and squeaky chairs…. which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a data point.

Brodard Chateau is not that. It could be a steakhouse or a nice Italian place. The chairs are heavy solid wood, the tables are dark wood with inlaid bamboo, and there is dark wood paneling. There’s also a full bar.

Service is friendly, and extremely helpful.

The grilled pork spring rolls were quite tasty, with warm pork, shredded carrots, cucumber and green onion inside. It was served with a “special sauce” which was slightly fruity. It had some red pepper sauce on the side, which added some heat.

The salt-pepper calamari was nothing short of outstanding. You get large rings of fried calamari that are delicate in texture, but full of flavor. It’s served over large chunks of jalapeno and green onion. These were cut way too thick for my liking. But the calamari itself was fabulous.

The sole noodle soup was light, with large pieces of tender sole in a sea bass broth. It also had fish cake and rice noodles; and it had a very light spiciness to it. Alongside was the obligatory fresh veggie plate, but no basil as one gets with beef pho. And it also comes with a small bowl of pungent shrimp sauce. The waiter explained the shrimp sauce was a traditional accompaniment, and you just add a little to the pho. This stuff was very strong. A whiff beforehand let me know to take it easy on the portion. But it did add a certain depth to the soup, and I would recommend it in extreme moderation.

The winner of the dinner was the sea bass curry. It had large slices of shiitake mushrooms, which were cooked to a perfect texture, as was the fish… tender but not falling apart. There was also eggplant, which layered on another complementary flavor. But the best part was the curry sauce itself. It was so full of creamy curry flavor that it made you want to just drink from the bowl…which was a good thing, as it’s served with that excellent baguette that they make banh mi with. It’s slightly crunchy on the outside and light and airy on the inside; but it still has a good bite to it. And it sops up curry sauce very well.

The barbecue chicken with garlic noodles was a bit of a letdown. The noodles were tasty, cooked in a wok with “secret” garlic sauce applied. But the chicken, while tender and juicy, was riddled with cartilage that required spitting out while chewing.

And the shaken beef, while delicious (albeit a little salty), did not quite live up to the incredibly high recommendation of the waiter. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very good dish. It was just not awesome like the curry, or calamari for that matter. The beef was coated with sweetish, salty syrup, which frankly reminded me of something I might get at PF Chang’s.

For dessert, we had both the strawberry and the banana crepes.

The strawberry crepe is more of a traditional crepe that comes filled with Nutella, with the strawberries and whipped cream over the top. What makes this is the Nutella

The banana crepe is not a crepe in the traditional sense. It looks like an Indian dosa…a large hardened rice crust shell, shaped in a 9 inch cone, with the bananas laid into the bottom with chocolate over them. And when you cut into it, it collapses into banana, chocolate and crunchy shell. It has a nice taste with the chocolate being a perfect match for the banana, but in order to take the first bite, you kind of have to destroy the whole presentation.

We had a very nice dinner. This is a place to take people who you’re not sure whether they’ll like Vietnamese food. The menu is quite varied, and the appetizers really get things off on the right foot.

Brodard Chateau
9100 Trask Avenue (22 at Magnolia)
Garden Grove (Little Saigon)
(714) 899-8273

Brodard Chateau
9100 Trask Ave Garden, Grove, CA

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  1. Our very French family went there two years ago, got a waiter who spoke French as well as they did, and we had a seriously good meal. Not necessarily because of any of these factors individually, but really because these people know what they're doing, and they do it very well.

    Good Vietnamese food is not that hard to come by in that area, but good very upscale Vietnamese/French I think is. This is where you can get that. It's good that authentic native Vietnamese cuisine is increasingly available, but I'm glad that the Colonial stuff is still to be had as well.

    1. Any idea if this is related to the much beloved Brodard's of the incredible nem nuong?

      6 Replies
      1. re: Thi N.

        Yes, Thi. Owned and operated by the same family. The Chateau is a bit more formal with a smaller, more focused menu. They also own Bamboo Bistro in Corona del Mar, although I've yet to experience it.

        1. re: degustateur

          A bit more formal? Chateau has white tablecloths. The original has cafeteria style tables. It's a lot more formal. It's like saying a french dip sandwich at Houston's has a little nicer atmosphere than eating one at Phillippe's.

          1. re: degustateur

            I went to Bamboo Bistro many times when I worked in Newport Beach. It is outstanding on all levels. They have great lunch specials, good pho, and wonderful noodle dishes. They, like Brodard Chateau, serve coconut juice straight out of the shell. They spring rolls are also very yummy.

          2. re: Thi N.

            Indeed it is. The problem is that if you take Vietnamese people there, as I did, there's a lot of rumbling and murmuring about how expensive it is and how it doesn't smell like fish sauce so it can't be a real Vietnamese restaurant and all they wanted was nem nuong cuon and sheesh.

            It's one of the gateways to real VN cooking for white people, basically.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Maybe they'll become the Viet equivalent of PF Chang's.

          3. Brodard, both the Chateau (in the old Pinnacle Peak building) and the original restaurant in The Mall of Fortune (Brookhurst at Bolsa, I believe) is OK in my book. We've eaten at both several times in the past year, for both lunch and dinner, and the food is well prepared but not as inventive as one would hope. Duck salad and the spring rolls are standbys.

            For a more epicurean experience with haute Vietnamese cuisine, I recommend trying Xanh Bistro at 16161 Brookhurst Street in Fountain Valley. (714) 531-2030. Chef Haley Nguyen is wonderfully inventive and subtle with her creations, in a much more personal and attentive way than you will find at Brodard.

            2 Replies
            1. re: FoodyinLA

              I agree about Xanh. It has become my family's favorite restaurant in Orange County. The caramel fish is exquisite.

              We liked Brodard Chateau--the food is fine, sometimes better than fine--but the decor seems more the point than the food, somehow.

              1. re: PayOrPlay

                It is apparently THE place to go for people dressed up for a wedding and toddling about in limousines. When we were there a big wedding party had taken over the upstairs - I'm guessing there's a banquet room - and it seemed like half the people going in and out were in formal wear and the other half in everyday clothing, including plenty of casually-dressed families. The decor may be intended to impress, but it certainly wasn't dampening anyone's fun.

            2. Went to Brodard Chateau on Monday for a special birthday dinner and had a very good meal that started with the amazing beef rolls and a duck salad. If the third dish had been the equal of those I would have rated the meal as exceptional, but the beef with lemongrass was bland. Salad and rolls paired nicely with a Trimbach Gewurztraminer and Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc. Beef dish went less well with Chalone Pinot Noir, but their red list is not the equal of their white and sparkling lists.

              Three dishes were a filling dinner for two, and with three glasses of wine ran $57.00 - far more than the traditional hole in the wall places nearby, but it was the right place at the right time. I'd go back for special occasions.

              1 Reply
              1. re: FoodObsessive

                Went there last night - we do a lot of Vietnamese locally in Pasadena, but wanted to see why JGold had given it a big writeup. Also we had wanted to go to Restaurant S, but that closed before we could make the trip.

                We had a great time, and while nothing was mind-blowing, they were all very competently done and presented. The restaurant was full on Sunday evening, primarily with Asian patrons.

                We had:
                Roasted Duck Spring Rolls – Goi Cuon Vit - Tender roasted duck wrapped in rice paper with asparagus, scallion, cilantro accompanied with plum sauce

                Vietnamese Crepe – Banh Xeo - Pan-seared rice flour filled with shrimp, pork, onion, mushroom & bean sprout served with Asian greens & lime chili fish sauce

                “Ha Noi” Style Smoked Pork Noodle – Bùn Cha Ha Noi BBQ pork & grilled pork patties in lime chili fish sauce garnished with pickled vegetables served with vermicelli & Asian greens

                Shaken Beef – Bo Lùc Lac Tender filet mignon in cubes sautéeed with mushrooms, onion in garlic ginger soy sauce accompanied with a side salad & Jasmine rice

                Seafood in XO sauce Scallops, shrimp & squid wokked with celery, onions & bell pepper in XO sauce

                Service was competent.

              2. Was just in that city over the weekend.... Thought about checking the place out but we weren't in a position to go to a nice place and spend a lot of time. Thanks for the review though, I will keep it in mind the next time we're in the area.