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suggestion for Le Viet

s
sylviag Aug 22, 2010 10:49 AM

Here's something helpful to know when ordering at Le Viet. (Le Viet is the lovely place on 11th St. just north of Washington Avenue.)

If you order the excellent dish of shrimp in a pineapple cup, you can ask them to remove the shells. We didn't know this on our first visit, and our friend who ordered this dish loved it but didn't like the struggle of getting the shrimp out of the shells.

On our last visit a few days ago, she ordered the dish with "no shells." No problem. This is a very tasty dish, full of large delicious shrimp and good pineapple chunks.

We continue to enjoy this restaurant. My husband and another friend loved #17, pho with seafood.
I had a good time with the quail appetizer - messy, but delicious.
And we keep ordering #2 and #3, crispy spring rolls and cold summer rolls.

Le Viet is a beautiful place, and has become a favorite. It's byob, and not expensive.

  1. b
    barryg Aug 22, 2010 05:38 PM

    Thanks for the tip.

    Is there an up-charge for getting the shrimp deshelled?

    What is pho with seafood? I've had shrimp pho, which is the beef broth but served with shrimp instead of any beef slices; is this like that?

    2 Replies
    1. re: barryg
      s
      sylviag Aug 23, 2010 12:24 PM

      Barry, there was no extra charge for taking off the shrimp shells. The person who originally recommended Le Viet to us told me that he always orders the shrimp dishes with no shells.

      I wish I remembered the number for my husband's pho dish. He said it was loaded with seafood: shrimp, scallops, fish, etc. He said the broth was very tasty, but we didn't talk about what kind of base this was. I'm a newcomer to pho, so I'm not much help.
      If you get there and try something else, report back. We never do get to dessert!

      1. re: barryg
        paychecktoday Aug 23, 2010 01:27 PM

        Pho with seafood is basically the same broth (beef stock), just with additions of seafood items (shrimp, squid, fish balls, etc). There's actually 2 varieties of the seafood soup. The one i mentioned is seafood pho; the other one is called "hieu tieu do bien" which is sorta the same, except they use a thick cellophane noodle (thicker than the bun noodle) and the broth I believe is more seafood stock than beef.

        Lemme know if you have any other Viet questions

      2. b
        Buckethead Aug 23, 2010 12:46 PM

        How busy was it when you were there? I really liked it on my one and only visit, I mean to get back there and try the pho. I was a little worried because on our visit we were the only people there, and it was like 7 pm on Friday. I hope they're getting enough of a crowd.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Buckethead
          s
          sylviag Aug 23, 2010 01:18 PM

          Still not busy, but getting better. When we arrived about 7 on Saturday night, there was only one other table occupied. By the time we left, about 8:30, it was half full - not bad, because it's a large place. Our waiter told us that they had two good reviews recently, and business is picking up.

          1. re: Buckethead
            phillybakingqueen Aug 23, 2010 05:58 PM

            We were there on a Sunday for lunch -- there was only one other table that was occupied :(

          2. phillybakingqueen Aug 23, 2010 05:36 PM

            I recently had the (spicy) chicken with lemongrass at Le Viet. The waiter asked if I wanted it served "without bones." I assumed there would be one large piece of bone-in chicken on the plate, and said no thanks. The dish was actually served with large cubes of chicken, some had bones and some didn't. It was delicious, but it was difficult to negotiate the hidden bones, especially with chopsticks! I would definitely opt-in for the no bones next time.....

            1. b
              bonappetite Aug 23, 2010 05:43 PM

              Went last week with a friend, delicious, we liked everything. Not real crowded, but i think this will change. Atmosphere is great!

              1. b
                barryg Sep 19, 2010 04:04 AM

                Finally made it here. I can't help but to compare to Nam Phuong across the street which is my go to spot. Overall the menus are almost the same at both, and the food quality seems to be about the same, too. However, the presentation and atmosphere at Le Viet is much, much nicer. I wish I could say the same about the service at Le Viet. It was more "Western" and they were quite accommodating, but not particularly attentive. Surprisingly, the prices are not high--they are a couple dollars higher than NP on most dishes but that's all. Still very affordable.

                Re: the pineapple salad, the shrimp came deshelled and butterflied without any questions asked. This was a great dish and I don't think there is an equivalent at Nam Phuong.

                Re: the #17 "Seafood pho," this is not really Pho at all. They list all of their noodle soups under the heading Pho for some reason, but this is a seafood-based soup. I think it is the "hieu tieu do bien" paychecktoday mentioned, but I didn't look at the Vietnamese name. It had thicker, round noodles in it.

                One odd thing is that one of their specials was a softshell crab dish in ginger sauce. Knowing that softshells are not in season we asked--they are frozen. No big deal, but why have them as a special?

                We got to try dessert. The spring rolls with sweet cream cheese and fruit were very good. Again, no comparable dish at NP that I am aware of. We also had the cantaloupe topped with longan berries; this was very simple and of good quality.

                It only filled up to a little under half capacity while we were there on a Saturday night. To be honest, the only reason I came here is that I was with my parents and they don't care for the divey atmosphere and brusque service of NP. Most of the staple dishes (bun, summer rolls, soups) are as good or better at NP and a bit cheaper. And one of my favorites, Chinese broccoli in garlic sauce, is not served at LV. I don't see myself coming back here unless with my parents or out of towners looking for a nicer experience. I did enjoy the menu and food much more than Vietnam in Chinatown--the dishes and flavors are less watered down.

                They are applying for a liquor license and the bar area looks nice, so this might be an interesting place to grab a drink and some snacks when that happens.

                3 Replies
                1. re: barryg
                  s
                  sylviag Sep 19, 2010 07:35 AM

                  Thanks for your interesting review. We have to try NP.
                  We are in the "parents" category - or grandparents - so that's one reason why we probably enjoy at place like Le Viet. But we do try to get around, and will get to NP.

                  1. re: sylviag
                    b
                    barryg Sep 23, 2010 03:06 PM

                    So... I ended up back at Le Viet a little sooner than I expected. I wanted noodle soup, but I also wanted to watch the Phils. So Le Viet fit the bill perfectly.

                    This time we tried the minced clam and beef dish for an app (sans beef) which was very good, and I got the seafood noodle soup (#17), also good. The service here is nice that the servers speak good English and are helpful with ordering and explaining dishes. But for some reason it is impossible to get the check at any Vietnamese restaurant I have been to.

                    I was there on a Monday and the dining area was pretty full. A good sign.

                    I still think the food is a toss-up between here and NP, but the atmosphere is worth a few extra bucks and they have some unique items. The bar will add a unique draw when they get their license, I think.

                    1. re: barryg
                      rabidog Dec 1, 2010 12:16 PM

                      haha, i was just there two days ago and i'm thinking about going back tonight!!! i absolutely overordered (like i always do) and still somehow our bill was under $100 for 4. got a funky and delicious crepe off the appetizers menu (perhaps #11?) which is a can't-miss. got a papaya salad, a soup of tomatoes, mushrooms and shrimp, some summer rolls and fried spring rolls, and for my entree an odd fried noodle pancake cut up into pie slices topped with veggies and seafood in sauce. my only complaint was the shortage of seafood in the entree, but otherwise everything was delicious and perfect. one of my dining companions got a cellophane noodle dish which is the reason i am debating returning tonight. yum.

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