Big Flavor at little Vietnam cafe
When I’m actually nuts enough to drive down Clement Street in the Inner Richmond, and it’s a lunchtime traffic circus (when is it not a traffic circus?), I now without fail stop by the curiously non-initial capped little Vietnam cafe (309 6th Avenue, between Clement and Geary). Yep, I’ll actually circle around the block a few times on parking space prowl just to grab the super-fresh, flavorful, and very economical home-style Vietnamese dishes.
The family-run Little Vietnam Cafe opened in March 2006 using grandma’s mother country recipes–and gosh-darn it if grandma can’t be found in the kitchen sometimes. It’s a hole-in-the-wall place, but clean and with five or six counter seats at the street window. What’s wonderful–and very smart on their part–is the ready-to-go dishes prepared and waiting at the counter during lunch hour. These dishes include a variety of rice-paper spring rolls with peanut sauce (Goi Coun Tom w/shrimp; Goi Cun Ga Nuong w/grilled chicken; Goi cuon Thit Nuong with grilled BBQ pork;), all priced at $4.50 with two big rolls for that great price, and vermicilli “bowl” plates at $5.50 with choices of grilled shrimp, pork, chicken, egg rolls, and/or pork meatball. Even by the time I get these dishes home to the Outer Richmond, the ingredients are fresh, crisp, and flavorful.
Usually, for the family I pick up one or two of the spring roll dishes and the made-to-order fresh Vietnamese sandwiches. These aren’t the run-of-the-mill, inexpensive type, but gussied up with grilled BBQ pork, beef, or chicken and spiced up further than the usual cilantro by adding jalapeno peppers–and still only $3.50! The bread is a wonderful lightly toasted French roll and this sandwich, as recommended by the cafe, should be eaten relatively soon before the bread gets too hard.
I’m so addicted to the spring rolls, sandwiches, and vermicilli bowls, that I’ve yet to sample their pho or rice plates. They also serve curry and Vietnamese-style beef stew. Vegetarian dishes are also available.
So, if you’re in the neighborhood, don’t miss this cafe with it’s delicious food and freindly family staff! And, of course, Green Apple Books is just a half-block away while you’re waiting for the meter to expire after the fast service from little Vietnam cafe.