Vietnamese Garden Best Of

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Restaurant Details

Best Of 2014 • Writer's Pick: Agitation of Heifer

I have a food friend who travels quite a bit, often hitting Vietnamese establishments around the world — hey, everybody's gotta have some obsession — and often ordering a personal favorite, Bo Luc Lac, translated as "shaken beef." It's not seen on many local menus, and it's not a super-flashy dish, but more like a deeply satisfying stir-fry that allows simple ingredients to shine. At least that's how Dung My Tram's version at Vietnamese Garden hits the mouth. Unsalted butter plays a key role, as do rice wine, vinegar and gluten-free soy in a sauce that's otherwise spiked with lots of minced garlic and the bite of white peppercorns playing off slivers of sliced and pan-flipped beef. Simply put, this is not your average wok fodder — it's much better. — Matthew Schniper

Bites 2013: Potato Fritters

It's like Hanukkah's golden latkes went to Vietnam for a makeover. Rough-grated carrots and yams are battered in Vietnamese beer and gluten-free rice flour, then deep-fried crisp. Great, right? But it's what comes next that pushes it off the charts: fresh mint, basil and cilantro served with crisp lettuce leaves for wrapping, then dunking into a sweet house sauce. Epic. ($7.45)

Price: $$

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