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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Looking for Vietnamese Noodles?

Mequon restaurant serves pho, seafood and veggie dinners

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The last two or three years saw a flurry of new Vietnamese restaurants, but the past year has not been kind to them. Pho 43, Pho 27 and Pho Hai Tuyet (Bayside location) have all closed. One place has fared far better, Vietnamese Noodles in Mequon. A pleasant setting with tile floors and earth tone décor, the place is spotlessly clean. Noodles naturally are a specialty namely in the form of pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup that is also rapidly appearing on other Asian menus around Milwaukee. But the menu also offers stir-fried noodle options, dishes with rice, assorted seafood and a nice selection of vegetarian items.

Vietnamese egg rolls ($5.99) are a natural starter, fried to a nice crisp and filled with shrimp, pork and shredded vegetables. They are served with a sweet dipping sauce with a tad of fish sauce and lime. Fresh shrimp rolls ($5.99) are also good. They are made with uncooked rice paper and, though they have a lot of lettuce in the filling, the shrimp are big and plump. A sweet peanut sauce is on the side. A pleasant surprise is shrimp with sugarcane ($6.99), minced shrimp “lollipops” served on sticks of sugarcane. They should be on more local menus.

The clientele includes Mequon locals plus many Southeast Asian Americans. At lunch, pho ($5.99-$6.99) is the item to order. There are 17 options. Most are various mixtures of beef with noodles, from meatballs and rare steak to gamier tendons and tripe. Everything is clearly labeled so there are no surprises, like the congealed pork blood the late Pho 27 was noted for. The bowls are large and the noodles plentiful. The usual accompaniments of fresh basil, bean sprouts and lime wedges are on the side, as are several bottled sauces that add sweetness, fire and salt. As the broth is light the seafood noodle soup is a good choice with shrimp, squid and processed fish balls instead of beef.

The seafood section includes a few lobster dishes ($29.99-$32.99), shrimp, squid, mussels and even oysters on the half shell. Seafood with Salt and Pepper ($18.99) lives up to its name. This dish, often found on better Cantonese menus, involves salt and sliced jalapeños for the pepper. Here, the salt is used with admirable restraint and the peppers are easily pushed aside for those who prefer milder food. The seafood is shrimp, shelled minus the tail, and tender scored squid. Cantonese restaurants usually leave the shrimp shells on.

The menu also has 23 vegetarian dishes. Tofu and vegetables predominate but some also attempt to imitate meat with faux beef, chicken and fish. There also is imitation duck ($12.99) with soy protein textured and colored to look a lot like duck meat. The actual flavor says “tofu” but it is tasty with assorted fresh vegetables and mushrooms.

Beverages include yogurt smoothies as well as a limited selection of wines and beer. This is a comfortable setting with friendly service and a nice décor. Vietnamese Noodles is a survivor and should continue to do very well in Mequon.

 

Vietnamese Noodles
1380 W. Mequon Road, Mequon

262-241-1999

$$

vietnamesenoodles.us

Handicapped Access: yes