I was grateful not only that the menu items were numbered and contained a brief description, but also that the patrons of Viet’s Noodles and Grill gave advice on how best to eat authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
The overflowing plate of colorful herbs, lettuce, cucumbers, bean sprouts and grated carrots that arrived at the table was confusing at first. We didn’t order pho, and even when I ordered bowls of noodles elsewhere, the amount of greens was significantly less. I wasn’t sure how this abundance of fresh ingredients affected our meals. Luckily, the woman at the next table explained that they are part of every order and the best way to eat them is to just add them to your meal. We could make lettuce wraps, we could chop the greens to mix with dishes, or we could ask for the wraps, using them to make our own spring rolls, which she and her companions planned to do.
Indeed, a package of wrappers and a small container of liquid (used to seal the buns) arrived at their table. We didn’t venture that kind of authenticity, but we liked to combine different elements. In a way, it felt like we were playing with our food and enjoying every bite we made.
The menu is extensive with lots of photos. As noted, each element has a number, its Vietnamese name, followed by an English translation. For example, O1 Gol Cuon ($7.95): Two large pancakes stuffed with shrimp, greens, and thin rice noodles with dark, rich peanut sauce and fish sauce. I like peanut sauce, and Viet’s was darker than most, but also spicier, which clearly indicates that peanut butter wasn’t the only ingredient. The fish sauce was salty, but surprisingly not too salty. We used both sauces for more than just spring rolls.
Portions are large, so be prepared to share. 46 Bun Dac Biet ($15.95) is a bowl of vermicelli and thin slices of beef, chicken, pork, whole shrimp and crispy egg roll pieces. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts on top; the server quickly confirmed that we were not allergic to peanuts.
Bo Cuon Scallop, also known as Number 118, ($19.95) features scallops wrapped in fried beef served with rice noodles on a bed of salad. With all the greens on the table, we decided that our food was exceptionally healthy. Unfortunately this was overshadowed by the amount of food we ate. We appreciated the different flavors so much that it was hard to put down the chopsticks.
Among the menu offerings are pho, fried rice, several soups and a variety of fish dishes such as catfish and seafood such as shrimp, mussels, shellfish and crab. Lamb and quail are also available.
The restaurant is one of the few businesses in front of the mall on North Academy Boulevard. Despite its location, it is not particularly visible from the main road. However, Viet’s is a solid business and clearly has a loyal clientele based on the help and conversations we’ve had with those who dine near us. Even without Wi-Fi, alcohol, or the opportunity to dine al fresco, it’s the food that keeps them coming back.
Noodles and grill at Viet’s restaurant
Rent: 7640 N. Academy Blv.
Contact: 719-465-2681; vietspringrestaurant.com/
Prices: $8.95 – $49.95
Watch: from 10:30 to 20:15 daily, except Wednesday
Details: Credit cards accepted.
Favorite dishes: Spring Rolls and Bun Dac Biet
Another: Gluten-free and vegan options are available.