Lua Bistrot is too sleek for Little Saigon. Among the neon-lit declarations of tackiness that surrounds it, Lua sticks out like a polished Porsche in a lot full of jalopies. You half expect James Bond to waltz in and rendezvous with a smoldering Russian spy. Yet when you check out the menu prices, you realize how well the place does indeed fit into a neighborhood full of discount noodle joints.
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You might remember that we designated the restaurant as the best place to get a Non-Credit-Breaching-Steak-Dinner in our Best Of Issue. The steak-and-egg meal is still there for $9.95.
But there's even a cheaper option. Yes, even cheaper than a $9.95 steak dinner.
What is it? The deal I saw the other night (which hopefully endures long enough for anyone reading to enjoy it): $3.50 for two pieces of fried chicken, with salad and mashed potato with gravy or rice. The menu says it is ga ro ti (which is Vietnamese roasted chicken)...I'll leave it to Dave to put in the proper accents and diacritics...but perhaps even this is unnecessary because the chicken is most obviously fried in oil, not roasted. It is fried chicken. Plain and simple. Cheap. Needing a little more salt. But again, cheap and good. The crispy, gnarled skin is addictive; the meat and starch, filling.
There's perhaps no cheaper sit-down restaurant chicken dinner in OC, except those perennial discounters at the Nha Hang $1.99 Restaurant...which isn't nearly as good looking as Lua.