Monday, May 24, 2010

In Search of Monday Lunch: Café Minh

Café Minh was one of the first reviews we wrote for OffBeat Magazine; and while the food is much the same now as it was back then, I'd say that our collective opinion on the restaurant has changed over time. It's tough to categorize and/or compare Café Minh with the more traditional Vietnamese restaurants, which our palettes have begun to favor. So Café Minh might not be our first choice to satisfy a hardcore craving for pho or chargrilled pork, but it's Vietnamese/French fusion cuisine still has a place in our stomachs. And it's open for lunch on Monday.

There is no better way to begin the meal than with a combination plate of Summer Rolls and Beggar's Purse. Cool and crisp rolls of shrimp, vegetables and avocado on one side; hand-formed pork and shrimp steamed dumplings on the other.

Main courses look and sound familiar, but there is usually an unexpected twist. The chargrilled pork sandwich adds green leaf lettuce, mayo, and balsamic vinaigrette to the traditional banh mi. Pho includes well-done brisket and meatballs but leaves out the tendon and ruby red slices of beef which barely cook through in the steaming broth. Cold salads of vermicelli noodles are spruced up with mixed greens, paneed chicken breast, and a nuoc mam based dressing.

No curry goat, deep fried quail, or grilled pork pate. Just a unique restaurant serving Vietnamese classics in unfamiliar ways.

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