STAR TREK

Our reviewer and her intrepid pals navigate Vietnam Star's gargantuan menu

But we loved the hot-and-sour soup. In general, hot-and-sour soup is an astonishing invention that, in my book, supersedes gunpowder as China's most important contribution to civilization. That precarious balance of intense flavors, that ingenious melange of textures, that weird and wonky flat-bottomed spoon -- what elegance! what drama! Vietnam Star's was an excellent, spicy rendition: thick and glossy, with tofu, huge black mushrooms and all other relevant constituents basking in deftly executed harmony.

Another pleasant surprise was the Vietnamese dish hu tieu bo kho, or "spicy beef stew rice noodle soup." A huge bowl of fragrant, rich broth brimming with noodles, vegetables and enormous chunks of beef arrived with a platter of fresh herbs, sliced chiles, lime and bean sprouts, which, when added to the soup, created a wild jumble of exotic sensations.

Vietnam Star: A bill of fare with some heft is to be expected of any Asian restaurant that claims Chinese food as a sideline, but here were no fewer than 16 pages  --  nearly 300 dishes  --  comprising every sort of noodle, sauce and generally Asian foodstuff you've ever heard of.
Jennifer Silverberg
Vietnam Star: A bill of fare with some heft is to be expected of any Asian restaurant that claims Chinese food as a sideline, but here were no fewer than 16 pages -- nearly 300 dishes -- comprising every sort of noodle, sauce and generally Asian foodstuff you've ever heard of.

Location Info

Map

Riddle's Penultimate Café & Wine Bar

6307 Delmar Blvd.
University City, MO 63130

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Delmar/ The Loop

Nobu's

8643 Olive Blvd.
University City, MO 63132

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: University City

Our absolute favorite was No. 267 -- "Frog Stir Fried in Hot Chili, Garlic & Lemongrass "Hot.'" I have ingested frogs on only one other occasion, and those were battered and deep-fried, with the look and feel of any other fried food. I pretend to be intrepid, but No. 267's completely naked specimens gave me pause. Pale nodules the size of oysters, they had tiny jointed bones that said, unmistakably, "hippity-hop." I braced myself for a swampy jolt of amphibian. Happily, they were delicious in a piquant, garlicky glaze with crisp onions and scallions -- tender and surprisingly sweet. A triumph. Or, as Bobbo put it more than once, "Frogs are good." VIETNAM STAR, 7930 Olive Blvd., 721-8838. Hours: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mon.-Thu.; 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sun. Entrees: $3.95-$11.95.

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