Thursday, October 3, 2013

Restaurant Review: Xanh

Xanh Restaurant - dinner on September 18, 2013
Crispy Potstickers
Remember when I mentioned my friend Rick whose favorite cookie is Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and that I made him a batch the last time he was in town and a group of us got together for dinner?  Rick arranged the dinner and we ate at Xanh.  Xanh labels itself a contemporary Vietnamese restaurant, going for the hip look with a lounge-y atmosphere. Or at least as hip as you can be if you're not in a trendy neighborhood in San Francisco but are in Castro Street in the suburbs of Mountain View. But I don't care how they brand themselves because their food is amazing and that trumps all.
Inside the crispy potsticker
I'm not even going to go into each dish or else this post would go on forever but I offer the pictures for your visual enjoyment.  Xanh is the rare restaurant that holds the distinction of being a place where I like their savory dishes more than their desserts.  It's not that their desserts are bad - far from it.  But their entrees and appetizers are amazing and my taste buds tell my sweet tooth to pipe down because they're busy enjoying the wonderful entrees that come out. And my sweet tooth subsides because it agrees.
Xanh Full Moon wraps (vegan version)
Everything comes out also visually appealing, creatively and decoratively arranged on platters and dishes in a way that makes you think the kitchen is staffed with culinary artists, not just chefs.  They know what they're doing.
Crispy Shrimp Clouds
It's best to come with a group of people (there were 7 of us this time) as the dishes are meant to be shared. Plus, honestly, you want to try as many dishes as you can because they're just that good.  As Rick says, "I've never had anything bad here." So true.
A close up of a Crispy Shrimp Cloud
My favorite dish is the prawns with garlic noodles (below) - amazing.  But they also have some of the best Shaking Beef I've ever had, tender and perfectly seasoned and flavored (pictured further below).
Garlic Prawns
Xanh can be a bit pricey if you go for dinner and order a lot.  Entrees range up to $30 or so and while they're decent-sized portions, they're not overly huge.  It's still worth it to me because of how good it is but if you're value-conscious and still want to try a range of their offerings, I recommend going to Xanh on a weekday for their lunch buffet.  For $12, it's all you can eat and they put out an excellent spread, including my favorite garlic noodles, soups, fresh Vietnamese spring rolls in three varieties, protein entrees like fish, chicken, and beef, and vegetarian dishes as well.
Peppercorn Beef
You do have to order rice separately as the entrees don't come with it but that's also available as part of the lunch buffet.
Brown Rice
Shaking Beef
Miso Salmon
Vegan dish
Banana Leaf Seabass
Probably the only thing I didn't care for at this particular dinner was the sorbet.  It was mango and passion fruit sorbet enrobed in white chocolate. I tried it to see what it was like but I'm not a fan of either mango or passion fruit and found it too sweet for my taste - and I don't say that very often.  So out of all the times I've gone to Xanh and made my way through their menu, there's ONE thing I didn't like.  Those are pretty good stats.  Everything else on the menu has been delicious.
Split Personality Sorbet
Hazelnut Mousse

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