Austin is filled with Vietnamese noodle houses. I haven't found a really outstanding restaurant yet, as they all seem to serve pretty much the same selection.
One, a bit out of the ordinary, is Sunflower. It's in the same shopping center as the Chinese restaurant I mentioned in an earlier post.
They have a few outstandingly different dishes amongst which are a Vietnamese salad, a fresh squid and bamboo shoot dish and a catfish firepot. Several other choices on the menu are beyond the usual noodle house fare.
According to the owner they are trying to stay away from a Chinese menu and maybe with more patronage and exposure they will expand their rather limited menu.
I recently had a whole Dungeness Crab prepared by the owner/chef which was to die for.
They also have an interesting Vietnamese crepe stuffed with bean sprouts and bits of chicken which is delicious.
I like the ambience of the restaurant with fresh flowers on the tables. A family owned restaurant they are helpful and friendly
Yup. Sunflower's my fave Vietnamese in town. I like the abundance of fresh ingredients - piles of mint along with the basil and all green and crisp.
Mint goes in the (rolled smartly to order) spring rolls as well and try to find a sprig of that in the saggy bags of bean sprouts and yellow iceberg you get elsewhere straight out of the fridge.
Heck, they make the lemonade to order.
Ba Le has good sandwiches. The first time I had the pork I took a big bite and the noodle-like meat sprung and bapped me in the face. I hope nobody was watching. Good, though. Meatballs are unexpectedly tender and savory. You could definitely bounce quarters off the ham. Springy cold cuts are to the Vietnamese taste, I think.
Tam Le (sp?) (one visit) has very homestyle-seeming dishes. The rice rolls with ground pork and black mushrooms were kind of like a loose ravioli. Different and tasty and the waiter graciously showed me how to eat the unwieldy things with chopsticks and spoon. Nice cream puffs the owner had just filled. Vegetables not so fresh, though and spring rolls hit dirt.
You probably know about these two places anyway - they were written up in the Chronicle. But that's my take on them.
Have you tried that shake shop next to Din Ho? Kind of like a Vietnamese Baskin' Robbins. Red bean shake with tapioca balls, that sort of thing.