When trying a restaurant for the first time, an empty house is a pretty good indicator of what’s to come. In a bad way.
“Where is everybody?” the owner shamelessly announces as we walk in.
We’re the only two people in the restaurant at peak dinner hour, and he seems more surprised than we are that no one is there. “It’s Restaurant Week,” I inform him. At that very moment everyone was undoubtedly streaming into Charlotte’s 100 best restaurants for a three-course meal deal while I, on the other hand, wanted to be anywhere but. With PlateShare’s Android beta launching at the event, I’d had about all the Restaurant Week I could handle, which is how we landed in this humble spot on South Blvd on one of the hottest dining nights of the year.
“Oh… More for us!” he laughs and gets back to running his restaurant, empty or not.
The thing about our first impression of Vietnam Grille is that it was very misleading. If no one’s here the food must be bad, right?
If no one’s here it means they have lost their damn minds. That’s a fact.
As it turns out, Vietnam Grille’s emptiness on our inaugural visit was an anomaly. The next time we went it was buzzing with what appeared to be regulars, a title we’ll be fast approaching if every dish we try is always perfect. So far we’re five for five.
The restaurant and its location aren’t much to write home about, but it’s incredibly clean, service is prompt, and the food–most importantly–is killer.
Pho chay (vegetarian soup with rice noodles, vegetables and fried tofu), awesome. Goi cuon chay (tofu, lettuce, bean sprouts and mint wrapped in rice paper rolls), awesome. Bun cai thap cam (rice noodles with mixed vegetables), awesome. Dao hu ko cai thap cam (fried tofu, stewed vegetables and lemongrass sauce), awesome.
The moral of the story? Don’t judge a restaurant by its seating capacity. After all, McDonald’s is always full.