Friday, October 7, 2016

VietNam Style Is Now Open on Delmar East

Posted By on Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 6:08 AM

click to enlarge The sizzling steak — a house specialty, and relatively uncommon in the Midwest. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • The sizzling steak — a house specialty, and relatively uncommon in the Midwest.
If your idea of Vietnamese cuisine consists entirely of vermicelli noodles and pho, you might want to get to VietNam Style (6100 Delmar Boulevard, 314-405-8438), pronto.

The brand-new restaurant, located on the eastern edge of the Loop, serves all the classics that American diners are used to — steaming bowls of pho, spring rolls and banh mi. But it's also offering a delicacy more familiar to recent ex-pats or diners who've partaken in Vietnam's food scene today: sizzling steak.

The dish features tenderized filet mignon topped with a sunnyside-up egg, grilled pork patties, sardines in a light tomato sauce and pork liver pate. It comes with a basket of French bread and a side salad — more food than you could ever hope to finish, for just $15.95. Not into sardines or pork patties? You can customize your own version, starting with a steak for $10.95 and adding the side dishes that you find most appealing.

Owners Thao Truong and Yun Vu say the steak has gotten a great reception, with Vietnamese friends saying it tastes just like home. "It makes me so happy, to hear people say they feel like they're back in Vietnam," Truong says.

At 26, Truong is herself an immigrant; she moved to St. Louis with her family when she was eighteen. Currently an MBA student at Maryville University, this is her first business, and she's thought through every detail. From the pots of aromatic "flower hot tea" to the napkins, folded so that they're as perky and cute as bowties in a Disney cartoon, everything about VietNam Style is cheerful and friendly. She's painted the walls bright green with pink accents because she loves bright colors.

Her signature smoothies, too, are adorable — topped with whipped cream, a piece of fruit and a paper umbrella, they look like after-dinner treats. But there's nothing cutesy about her recipes. She uses fresh avocado in the spectacular avocado smoothie — and the nutty, creamy taste shines. "The smoothies are 80 percent fresh fruit," she promises. "We believe the anti-oxidants make your skin beautiful from the inside out. And Vietnamese love avocados!"

The couple had a soft opening over the weekend, then started regular service on Tuesday. They've enjoyed getting feedback and are taking it all very seriously; they've already adjusted a few prices based on the response of their customers.

"We want people to tell us, what we did right, what we should do to improve," Vu says.

So far, though, the feedback has been great. And those smoothies are already developing quite the following. On Wednesday, a customer from a neighboring business drops by to put in a to-go order, and Truong offers him a small taste in a little tea cup. Within a few sips, he's hooked. "Can you make one of these to go?" his server asks Truong as she stands behind the bar.

"Whipped cream on top?" she asks.

"Yes!" He responds. 

"Every time I give someone a sample, then they want one," Truong says, laughing.

But that's just the way she wants it. And now that the soft opening is over, she's ready for an onslaught of customers. "I got more people in the kitchen so we know we can get busy," she reports.

Going forward, VietNam Style will be open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 9:30 p.m. They do not yet have a liquor license, but are working to get one.

See more photos below.

click to enlarge The pho dac biet features flavorful broth with a beef brisket meatball, soft tendon and a slice of filet mignon. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • The pho dac biet features flavorful broth with a beef brisket meatball, soft tendon and a slice of filet mignon.

click to enlarge A pot of flower hot tea. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • A pot of flower hot tea.

click to enlarge An avocado smoothie features avocados cut and pureed before your eyes. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • An avocado smoothie features avocados cut and pureed before your eyes.
click to enlarge The dining room features large windows facing Delmar. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • The dining room features large windows facing Delmar.
click to enlarge Yun Vu and Thao Truong. The married couple has just opened their first restaurant. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • Yun Vu and Thao Truong. The married couple has just opened their first restaurant.
click to enlarge The eatery is located just east of Skinker, past the Pageant at the eastern end of the Loop. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • The eatery is located just east of Skinker, past the Pageant at the eastern end of the Loop.



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