We continue to countdown our 100 favorite dishes at local restaurants. We'll be sharing these with you every weekday until our annual Best Of Issue comes out. Enjoy!
#65. Seven Courses of Beef at Thien An
You might think that seven courses of beef (that's bo 7 mon in Vietnamese) is probably six courses too many. And you'd be right if every course weren't so darn tasty and essential to the whole experience. Anyway, the bovine bender is a special occasion blowout that you'd be silly to have everyday (although with a price of around $15 per person, you technically could).
It actually starts quite sanely with a salad, which counts as a course. Fine, it's one that includes beef and tripe (that's beef stomach lining), but it's a refreshing and crunchy salad just the same.
Second course is DIY. The bo nuong vi are thin slices of beef cooked tableside atop a heated iron dome. Once you finish grilling them, you wrap them around wetted discs of rice paper with veggies for an impromptu burrito.
After that, bo nuong mo chai, seasoned-ground-beef spheres encased in caul that self-baste into the juiciest meatballs you'll ever taste.
Next, the bo nuong la lop, which are stubby meat stogies rolled inside lalot leaves–something that will remind you of a cross between grape leaf and nori.
Then, bo cha dum, a steamed meat cake studded with peas, mushrooms and mercilessly aggressive whole peppercorns. You scoop it up with some shrimp crackers like it were dip.
Finally, a gigantic bowl of soup with clear broth, rice, alphabet pasta, a few strands of rice noodles, cilantro and bits of beef closes the meal.
There, that wasn't that overwhelmingly rich was it? Bet you can't say the same about the In-N-Out four-by-four.
Thien An, 13518 Harbor Blvd., Ste. 6, Garden Grove, (714) 530-4955. Open Mon.-Thurs., 3-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sun., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Meal for two, $30-$40, food only. Beer and wine.
The list so far:
#100. Jerk Carnitas Torta at The Crosby
#99. Nem Nuong Cuon at Brodard
#98. Pork Chop Anything at Nice Time Deli
#97. Flying Saucer at Alberto's
#96. Frozen Custard at Marc Burger's in Macy's Signature Kitchen
#95. Collard Greens at Johnny Reb's
#94. Strawberry Shortcake from Job's Daughters
#93. Cuban Sandwich at DeSimone's Deli
#92. Lamb with Preserved Cabbage at Mas Islamic Chinese
#91. Baked Rice at Luc Dinh Ky
#90. Beans on Toast at The Olde Ship
#89. Midnight Al Pastor Burrito or Taco at Taqueria Tapatia
#88. Budino di Cioccolato, Pizzeria Ortica
#87. Beef Teriyaki Bowl, Teriyami
#86. Salmon Onigiri at Cream Pan
#85. Beef Fat Fries at SideDoor
#84. Silken Tofu & Thousand Year Old Egg at Asian Tapas
#83. Cambodian Beef Jerky at Sophy's
#82. Com Tam at Com Tam Tran Quy Cap
#81. Chipotle-Piloncillo Goat Cheese at SOL Cocina
#80. Nem Nuong Cuon at Au Lac Restaurant
#79. Blackened Mushroom & Tofu Burger at Taco Loco
#78. Fried Veggie Fish Fillet at Dong Phuong Tofu
#77. Tofu Vegetable Salad at BCD Tofu House
#76. Che Ba Mau at Thach Che Hien Khanh
#75. Barracuda Sushi at Ohshima
#74. Whole Lamb with Kabsa at Olive Tree
#73. 5 a.m. Chitterlings at Tri-Village
#72. Spinach Empanadas at El Gaucho #2
#71. Croissants at Molinos Bakery
#70. Beso de Monja at El Rincón del Sabor
#69. Fatteh at Kareem's
#68. Korean Beef Rib Sandwich at Kaffa
#67. Rice Flour Pupusas at Pupusería San Sivar
#66. The Hash Browns at Pop's Cafe