Best Vietnamese Restaurant St. Louis 2010 - Phuc Loi
Phuc Loi is easily missed or even ignored, a tiny storefront in a bland strip mall with a Laundromat and a check-cashing joint. But to dine here is to plunge into Vietnamese cuisine feet first. There are familiar dishes, plates of tender meat and rice served with the restaurant's delicious take on the traditional condiment nuoc cham, but these are not kept separate from the funkier fare — funkier and, frankly, fantastic. The soups are outstanding: Bun bo Hue, fiery with chiles, is bright with lemongrass and chock-full of pork and beef; bun vit mang sports an anise-flavored broth stocked with succulent duck meat. If you don't want to venture too far from your comfort zone, the banh mi dac biet will still be a revelation. Here, the traditional French-influenced sandwich brings the expected ham, headcheese, pork pâté and vegetables (including a generous serving of raw jalapeño slices), with the delightful, indulgent bonus of a whole fried egg. At $3.50 the sandwich is a steal — or would feel like it, if you weren't so enraptured by its simple pleasures.