What does Detlef Schrempf, Dalat Vietnam, Dalat Restaurant all have in common?…East Germany, Far East, East Dallas? To tell you the truth, I don’t even know were I was going with that, just wanted a reason to use the name “Detlef Schrempf” in a post! All stupid drunk talk aside, when I stumbled into this place after a night of drinking, I thought, ‘damn, did I just find a place that serves Pho till 2 in da mornin’. After letting egg noodles soak up hours of craft beers, I made a mental note to come back during the light of day to properly introduce my taste buds.
There are things I eat during certain times of year because they remind me of what a season is all about. Missing summer, feeling like I’ll be gone till November, these Spring rolls got me sprung on it’s freshness, crispness, and clean flavors. A few things though, they were over stuffed with greens. I would rather they be less packed, tad more chicken, and came with a lighter sauce. Peanut sauce with a dot of chile sauce is fine, but a vinegar based chile sauce would be a nicer option.
Deconstructed Beef Pho was the first thing on the menu that caught my eye. Without reading the description, my mind raced with ideas of an inventive dish straight out an episode of “Chopped”. What a let down when the dish came out, turns out it was just a fancy way of saying egg noodles “with broth on the side”.
The dry bowl however was pleasantly flavorful. The beef had a teriyaki type sauce and had a slight char that gave the succulent beef a nice texture. The bok choy was a little on the over wilted side but the lemongrass helped liven the dish back up.
Bo knows pho. Well hopefully he knows that it is one of Nam’s staple dishes found almost in every neighborhood. So when Fitzhugh Ave. finally got one of it’s very own, expectations were high. I’m all about flavor enhancers, so when ordering I opted for the “Dirty” pho which gave my bowl a shot of MSG and fat. When the bowl hit the table, I just stared at it like my first paycheck of the year after the new Social Security tax hike, something didn’t add up. Seeing the confused look on my face, the server came back to the table to tell me that there was a veggie bar where I could get all my fixins’. The broth was surprisingly light and non-oily even after it got “Dirty”. The season beef melded with the broth giving it a depth that one seeks to drink on a cold day.
I wouldn’t call Datlat a Vietnamese restaurant, I would say it’s a restaurant that pays homage to Vietnamese cooking with a splash of influence of who is actually cooking in the kitchen. With dishes like VietMEX Tacos, DaLat Chili, and KHANHwiches, you are sure to find something on the menu that is unique. And anyways, are you really looking for 4 stars during the midnight hours or just something out of the ordinary to ease the next days hangover.