Xanh Bistro is the perfect introduction to Vietnamese food for people who are scared of Little Saigon and its brusque holes in the wall: it serves excellent, home-style food like grilled or stewed fish, plenty of vegetables, and great small plates in a warm, well-designed environment. The service is attentive and fluently English-speaking, the menu is approachable by non-Vietnamese while still being authentic, and there's a wine list and dessert, things not common a little further north on Brookhurst Street.
Unfortunately, it's cursed by an odd location, in the inner corner of a
large plaza on Brookhurst with no exterior signage. In short, you
have to know it's there to go there, which is a shame.
Chef and owner Haley Nguyen is looking for alternate digs, somewhere a
little further from Little Saigon. So, gentle readers–where should Xanh
go? Where in OC could Nguyen spread the gospel of light, fresh food at
good prices? Is it time for Newport or Laguna to finally have a Viet place worth eating at? Could downtown Santa Ana use a place to go for shaking beef and grilled orange roughy with mango salad?
The lease on the current space expires at the end of May, so in the meantime, seek it out–go!
16161 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley; (714) 531-2030; xanhbistro.com.