Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lac Viet Bistro - Orlando

If you're familiar with the Colonial Town section of Orlando, you know that's where to find the most authentic Oriental cuisine in the city. This is also where you can find a little place called Lac Viet Bistro.
Located on 50, just down the block from the retro Publix downtown, Lac Viet doesn't look like much from the outside (with the exception of an EXCELLENT statue). An old building worn out by intense heat and pounding rain, but once inside you'd have thought someone pulled the old switcheroo on ya--it's almost inconceivable. The ornate details, authentic decorations and friendly staff make you instantly forget your first impression walking up.

We went on a Friday night but had no problem getting a table right away. This was not due to a lack of customers. Certainly not. There were many patrons there that night, several of them with large families and groups of 6 or more. Lac Viet just has lots of space and are able to accommodate everyone, hooray!
The waiter arrived, asked us if we had any questions and took our drink orders. After he left, I got up to wander around a bit. As I mentioned before, the details and decorations were very well done. A water feature teeming with goldfish, several traditional musical instruments and art work donned the walls surrounding us in very tasteful fashion.
Our drinks were dropped off shortly thereafter and we ordered an appetizer. We went with something easy, the spring rolls. They were light and delicious. Packed full, but the cabbage and veggies were so fresh they didn't leave you feeling heavy. This is exactly what an appetizer should do right? Not fill you up, make you more hungry.
At the recommendations of our friends we all tried the same thing for dinner, Pho Bo. This is a beef noodle soup and you get to choose the proteins to add to it. I went with the Bo Vien beef meatball, Tai eye-round steak and the skirt flank. We also ordered a side of fried rice, as we were told it was the best in the city.
After a beer or two our entree arrived. Since we all got different variations of the same thing, you'd have thought we were all competing in our own apple bobbing competitions. I mean, I could have gone swimming in this soup bowl it was so massive (and we only ordered the regular size!). Along with the steaming plate of fresh fried rice, dinner was served.
The Pho Bo comes with a plate of bean sprouts, fresh basil leaves, lime wedges and jalapeno peppers to add at your discretion. My friend and I also asked for the house hot sauce. It was a welcome addition if you enjoy the heat.
The soup was awesome. It was layered with so many flavors--what with the the lime juice and jalapenos giving it touches of sweet and hot. The bean sprouts added a crunchy texture and the savory meats were just oozing their juices into the rich broth (not to mention the heaping amounts of noodles swarming at the bottom of the bowl). After a few minutes I realized I hadn't even given the fried rice a try yet.I had a small side plate and scooped some on there, gave it a whirl with the hot sauce. Yes, between the ample amounts of chicken, egg, carrots and peas, this fried rice was definitely leaps and bounds above the dishes I am used to (side note, I usually only get fried rice when I eat mall Chinese, but still, I mean, this...was good!).
After a couple of bites I thought I'd, "do me," as the kids say and added the fried rice to my soup. Brilliance. I just took this dinner to the next level.
We enjoyed good conversation and good food for what seemed like hours when I realized I had barely dented my meal and was already pretty full. The waiter asked if we wanted to take home the leftovers, but I declined. Our friend got hers and it looked like two more meals worth in the to go container.
We got the bill and I was amazed. Appetizers, beers, two HUGE meals and a side of the best fried rice this stink town has to offer came out to just around 40 bucks...WITH TIP. We weren't there for happy hour, we didn't have a BOGO coupon, nuthin, just amazing food on the cheap.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention-- they also have a dish near the exit with the best selection of your grandpa's favorite hard candies. Game-Viet-Match.

So, there ya go..Lac Viet Bistro. Amazing Vietnamese food, amazing prices and authentic decor.

Tell'em Daniel sentcha.

Lac Viet Bistro
2021 E Colonial Dr, ORLANDO, FL 32803
(407) 228-4000

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