Back in the urban jungle this weekend, we decided to go eat at A'Dong's Vietnamese restaurant which I have raved about before on this blog. I have eaten there dozens of time and every time the food was outstanding and the service very good. However this time was a different story.
It was definitely busier than it has been in the past when we had eaten there and so after getting seated, I was mentally prepared for a long wait. The place has several dozens of tables, perhaps 60 or more, so there was plenty of seating and as the minutes went by, the head guy kept seating people while those of us who had been there for awhile waited for him to at least come get a drink order. When there were no more people waiting to be seated and yet half a dozen open tables all cleared and set for service, the head guy proceeded to clean other tables and make mixed drinks for take out orders. Their mixed bean drinks are fabulous and thus popular take out items. Yet there were at least six tables with people looking around trying to catch the eye of someone to take their order, including me since we had been waiting there the longest of them all. Finally perhaps twenty minutes after we got sat down, we were able to flag down another girl who normally runs the cash register and she took our drink order, appetizer order and meal order all in one shot.
Despite the long wait to get our order in, our food came out probably a little over five minutes later so I have to give them credit for that. I had tried something new which was number 109 on the menu since the name is actually written in Vietnamese and described as beef fried in tin foil and served with vegetables and lemon sauce. It sounded good. When it arrived, they set three plates before me, one with this huge mound of tin foil wrapped packets, one with six slices of cucumber and a hunk from the core of a head of lettuce with a bowl of the lemon sauce on the side and a third plate with rice. Usually I have an idea on how I am expected to eat something but with this one I had no clue. I suspected that you were supposed to take some of the meat from a couple of the foil packets and wrap it in the lettuce with perhaps a cucumber slice and dip it into the lemon sauce and eat it with the rice but the core of lettuce is not meant for wrapping. It only breaks when bent or folded.
I finally decided to just unwrap all the individual packets of tin foil, each one smoking hot from being fried and inside each one was a little tiny morsel of meat. It took my fifteen minutes to unwrap them all thoroughly burning my fingers on the foil and in the hot meat juices that dribbles out from the packets. I put all the pieces of meat on the plate next to the rice and ended up with perhaps one cup level full of it. I ended up taking a fork full of meat and rice, dipping it in the lemon sauce and eating it that way. While it was good, it lacked flavor and was more work to eat it than I generally like to exert when dining out. My hands are still red from handling the tin foil packets as I write this. Moral of this tale: only go there when they aren't busy and don't order number 109.