Ethnic.City: Quan Ba 9

posted on October 13, 2010 at 11:58 am

Skip the Cha Gio (spring rolls); they’re tough and have an interior that resembles minced hot dog and Spam. Start with a salad instead. We ordered three and were surprised at how distinctive each one tasted. In the Goi Xoai, julienned green mango so fresh it tasted like it was just picked dances with tough-as-jerky dried baby shrimp, coarsely chopped herbs and a drizzle of citrusy dressing hinting of fish sauce. The beef carpaccio or Bo Tai Chanh — a jumble of raw beef round tangled with shredded onions, slivers of lotus root and carrot, crushed peanuts and caramelized onions — comes predressed with fresh lime juice and a side of impossibly dark and funky sauce that miraculously mellows out once it’s mixed in. A more substantial offering, the duck salad or Goi Vit, comes with chopped up, poached, bone-in duck placed atop a mix of multicolored shredded cabbage and the usual suspects: caramelized shallots and fresh herbs. A remarkable dressing of copious fresh ginger, chilis and fish sauce adds a lot of brightness and heat to the otherwise tame dish.

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