Recently Sergio and I tried a new Vietnamese / Thai restaurant that opened in mid-May on Newbury Street in the Back Bay. Despite my aversion to all businesses that use the term “beantown”, I have not eaten Vietnamese before and was open to giving it a try.
The waitstaff was very patient explaining all the options on their 2-sided menu (one side reserved for Thai inspired plates and one side reserved for Vietnamese inspired meals). Dinner options remain very affordable with the entire menu under $15.00. Why can’t the South End have more restaurants with this price point?
We started our dinner with the Vietnamese starter, Muc Rang Muoi, ($7.95) I’d describe it as a spicy version of calamari with peppers, onions, garlic and jalapenos. I enjoyed the plate but it proved too spicy for Sergio who immediately downed his glass of water.
Service was prompt, clearing plates and refilling glasses but we never felt rushed and I enjoyed eating outside on their Newbury Street patio even though it was so late that people-watching was kept to a minimum.
For dinner Sergio ordered the Thai Red Curry with chicken. The meal was served in a pool of red curry and an impressive amount of chicken and vegetables ($11.95). Sergio enjoyed his meal, but I thought it wasn’t particularly memorable. His only critique was he thought it too spicy – I think his mouth was still recovering from the calamari we had shared at the start of our meal.
I’m not familiar with Vietnamese food but every time I’ve ordered south Asian cuisine I’ve enjoyed how fresh and light the meals taste. I opted to try the Vietnamese plate, Kho To, a spicy white fish plate cooked in pot with a slightly spicy / sweet brown sauce; served with steamed vegetables and white rice ($13.95). I spooned the rice and vegetables into the pot and stirred the ingredients together. While it wasn’t particularly pretty to look at, the food was flavorful.
I’m not an expert on Vietnamese cuisine and can’t speak to its authenticity but both Sergio and I enjoyed our dinners.