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Halong Bay Vietnamese French in Eagle Rock

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Layne Murphy Jul 23, 2011 09:19 AM

This is a new place created by the owners of Lemon Grass and located next door. There are brick walls and a minimalist decor that sort of feels unfinished and not intentionally spare. The menus are printed on scrolls that are unrolled. Cute, but plastic and not the easiest to read. The service was warm and professional. We shared some vegetarian egg rolls which had sort of a bitter taste and were served with inadequate lettuce for wrapping. My teenage companion ordered Bo Lac Chao--Filet mignon sautéed with honey, chili, chopped shallots and garlic. He pronounced it outstanding but complained that the portion was skimpy although that is the nature of the beast. I ordered Cam Tim Nuong-grilled eggplant with butter and homemade tamarind fish sauce. It looked like sort of a skimpy plate of unadorned grilled eggplant when it arrived but the flavors were actually complex and mindblowingly delicious. We'll definitely go back although I don't get how the concept is radically different than Lemon Grass, which I also like very much and find it curious that they've opened such a similar restaurant right next door. Publicity materials state that Halong Bay leans more heavily on the French influence but I really didn't see it on the menu. Nevertheless, both places are good and I hope both flourish.

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