I eat at Vietnam Cafe at least twice a month, and I’m always so hungry and excited when the food comes that I forget to take a picture before my meal is half-devoured. I stopped in for a University City dining days preview (3 courses, $15, July 23-30) and finally remembered to photograph before shoving everything into my mouth. Above, the Goi Cuon Chay, un-fried spring rolls filled with lightly fried tofu, lettuce, bean sprouts, fresh basil, and a beautiful green onion garnish. I particularly loved the green onion place right in the center of the roll, and the sauce was just lovely.
It’s hard for me NOT to order Bun Gio Chay – rice vermicelli noodles topped with crispy fried spring rolls, shredded lettuce, carrots, sprouts, and special vegetarian nuac mam sauce. It’s my classic dish, and if I haven’t had an appetizer I sometimes even add tofu to it. I should only ever eat half. And I always eat the whole thing, doused in a healthy amount of hot chili oil that, by now, they just put on the table as soon as I arrive. Now that’s neighborhood service.