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Is there Oakland Vietnamese as good as SF's Bodega Bistro?

Maya Feb 6, 2013 09:30 PM

I would love some recommendations from any people familiar with Oakland Vietnamese options, who love Bodega Bistro in the TL. I am sure there are disagreements about Bodega Bistro, but since a friend of mine worships it, I would like to show her something as good (or better) in Oakland.

Bonus points for some excellent version of Shaking Beef (with the citrus pepper dipping sauce).

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Ruth Lafler RE: Maya Feb 6, 2013 10:48 PM

    I'm a big fan of Bodega Bistro, and my first impulse was to say no. But on further thought, you might want to try Xyclo on Piedmont Ave.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler
      Robert Lauriston RE: Ruth Lafler Feb 7, 2013 08:30 AM

      Xyclo's menu sounds pretty fusiony. Their version of shaking beef ("Tumbling Dice") is served over salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        Ruth Lafler RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 7, 2013 09:48 AM

        Some of the food is fusiony. But then, Vietnamese food is intrinsically "fusiony" since it was influenced by French cuisine. There are French (or, to use your favorite pejorative, "frenchy") dishes on the menu at Bodega Bistro.

        Bodega Bistro is not a pho joint, and thus I wouldn't recommend a place like Pho Ao Sen to someone looking for a Bodega Bistro equivalent.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          Robert Lauriston RE: Ruth Lafler Feb 8, 2013 08:57 AM

          I think thit bo luc lac might be a Vietnamese adaptation of steak au poivre, but even so balsamic vinaigrette seems like a bad sign for someone looking for shaking beef like Bodega Bistro's.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            Ruth Lafler RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 8, 2013 09:52 AM

            A photo of the "tumbling dice" at Xyclo showed it served with a dish of citrus salt and pepper. If I read the menu description correctly, the balsamic vinaigrette is on the accompanying greens. Guess someone will just have to try it!

            1. re: Ruth Lafler
              Maya RE: Ruth Lafler Feb 11, 2013 12:04 PM

              Sadly, I have been to Xyclo, and it definitely does not compare to Bodega Bistro.

    2. v
      vulber RE: Maya Feb 7, 2013 12:41 AM

      bodega bistro definitely has my favorite shaking beef in SF. i like pho 84 in oakland

      1. t
        tedm RE: Maya Feb 7, 2013 09:44 AM


        1. j
          jaiko RE: Maya Feb 7, 2013 05:49 PM

          If you're willing to go to El Cerrito, Nong Thon. I'm not a Shaking Beef fan, we prefer Beef La Lot, and they are one of the very few places that still make it. But I know they make Shaking Beef, we had it there the first time we went.

          Nong Thon is very much like Le Cheval, only less obnoxious. Some of their waitstaff is good, some not so good. Their food reminds us the Vietnamese food we used to get in San Francisco in the '70's, before it got sweet/greasy/cheap.

          Le Cheval is the only restaurant in my life where I got up and walked out, after sitting down in an almost-empty dining room and being ignored for a full 15 minutes - no water, no tea, no menu, nothing but waitstaff busily running around ignoring people. Needless to say, 20 yrs later we've never returned to LC.

          4 Replies
          1. re: jaiko
            chefj RE: jaiko Feb 7, 2013 06:30 PM

            Nông Thôn in El Cerrito is the same Menu and Owners as Binh Minh Quan in Oakland. Food is nearly identical and good

            1. re: chefj
              Robert Lauriston RE: chefj Feb 8, 2013 08:59 AM

              Interesting. How is Binh Minh Quan these days? It used to be my favorite Vietnamese in East Bay but the food went way downhill and I haven't been back since 2007. Maybe their opening a second place had something to do with the decline.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                chefj RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 9, 2013 11:14 AM

                I am not sure if the 2nd place was responsible.
                Binh Minh Quan is still a bit uneven and a little expensive (for the quality)but quite good at some dishes. Bánh xèo, Bánh hỏi, Pork in Carmel Sauce.
                Most of the Rice Plates and Phở can be had for less Money and better renditions at the Noodle Joints on and near International Blvd.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  escargot3 RE: Robert Lauriston Jan 9, 2014 11:31 PM

                  Walked past the 12th St location in Chinatown tonite and noticed it was quite busy, with mostly Asian patrons. If I hadn't been meeting someone at Tay Ho at the corner, I woulda given it a try.

                  ps- Banh Xeo at Tay Ho was excellent.

            2. felice RE: Maya Feb 13, 2013 12:22 AM

              My favorite in Oakland is Tay Ho, but I wouldn't order the shaking beef. Garlic rice, clams over rice, crispy crepe are all fantastic. I primarily go for lunch for their bun rieu and other noodles soups. The range of great dishes is better at Tay Ho than at Bodega Bistro, in my opinion.

              1. escargot3 RE: Maya Jan 10, 2014 02:38 PM

                ps- I forgot to mention:
                There's a sign up at Tay Ho: They offer 10% discount if you arrive by bike! Way cool.

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