Friday, April 9, 2010

VIETNAMESE

Metro Milwaukee Dining Guide

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Mekong Café

5930 W. North Ave.

The varied cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos meet on one menu. Begin with ban xio, Vietnamese crepes with a golden color from turmeric and the sweetness of coconut milk, then perhaps a Thai curry or seafood dumplings in a sweet brown sauce. The more adventurous will want to try the homemade Laotian sausages with a fiery kick of hot pepper. Finish with a dessert of deep-fried taro or purple sticky rice pudding. This kitchen cooks with the confidence that ranks this café with the very best purveyors of Southeast Asian food. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: MC,VS,DS. 257-2228

Phan’s Garden

1923 W. National Ave.

The menu has a split personality—half Chinese and half Vietnamese. The Vietnamese is the reason to visit. Many customers can be seen eating bowls of noodles with broth. Pho cac biet is a typical version with beef and rice noodles. The Vietnamese offerings are many with fine egg rolls, steamed rolls with pork, papaya salad and curries with lemongrass. (J.B.) $-$$. CC: MC, VS, AX. 384-4522

Pho Hai

3881 S. 27th St.

Pho Hai Binh is small with only a few tables but the size is compensated by superb Vietnamese fare. Look for the house specialty, pho, a large bowl of Vietnamese rice noodle soup and a meal in itself. There are 25 versions, mostly prepared with beef, chicken or seafood. Customize this with assorted fresh vegetables, herbs, and various condiments. Other options include excellent Vietnamese egg rolls, green papaya salad and some very tasty grilled pork chops. Prices are very reasonable. (J.B.) $. CC: MC.VS. Handicap access. 282-8041

West Bank Cafe

732 E. Burleigh St.

West Bank remains the best place for Vietnamese food. Try steamed mussels with cream sauce, steamed fresh rolls, and the great fantail shrimp for appetizers. Chicken lemon grass is a Vietnamese classic. (J.B.) $$. CC: All major. FB, RS. Handicap access. 562-5555