It's been a while since Vietnam Kitchen re-opened, but I recently took a trip over for my first meal experience there, and I’ll definitely be going back. I know Vietnam Kitchen has quite a following among Louisville foodies, and I found it surprising how out-of-the-way and obscure the location was - a simplicity that belies an excellent menu with a great selection for omnivores and vegetarians.
I had the Mì căn xào đậu - a mock duck dish with green beans and rice. At first I thought that it was incredibly stark and simple, but that lack of flourish was coupled with an amazing flavor and quantity that I was able to have for lunch the next day. It’s a non-spicy dish that packs a ton of flavor, and the mock duck was a great texture that wasn’t too false-meaty while still retaining a texture that tied the dish together and made me pick through my forkfuls to find a good chunk.
My girlfriend had the Hủ tiếu cay Triều Châu chay - a semi-soup dish of rice noodles and tofu in a spicy sauce that was amazing. Again, so much quantity that it easily made two meals. She called it a warm and cuddly dish that was the perfect thing to curl up with for a movie - it’s comfort food for spicy people.
I stuffed myself before she did, and as I sat with her, an obvious bloated look on my face, an older gentleman who was making the rounds refilling drinks stopped and looked at my dish. “Aha! Too much, huh?” He said. I laughed, “yeah, way too much.” As he went and grabbed a box, I chuckled.
The service was amazingly friendly, and I later heard the same fellow remark to a guest “Oh, long time no see!” I heard the two of them engaged in a conversation that I could only think belonged to a pair that loved restaurant and customer. Vietnam Kitchen presents a friendly atmosphere coupled with great food that surprises and delights.