Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Lemongrass Vietnamese Bistro in Naples

This is a “preliminary experience, as Lemongrass is in “soft opening" mode. It’s great deal for you-20% off everything through Sept 28.

Lemongrass Vietnamese Bistro  is s a good thing that’s gonna get better.  It’s in the same Galleria Shoppes site as AsianGo!Go!, only with even better tasting food and completely  different owners.  Right now, the menu is compact and sufficient, and will expand in time. 

The setting is calm and simple, with a long area by the counter, and a wider, more open area facing the back patio, and dining al fresco as well.

 The owners previously ran a restaurant in California, so it’s not their first rodeo.

Now, they are starting with a menu of 7 apps, 7 pho’s, and 6 vermicelli rice noodle bowls, plus banh mi sandwiches. The appetizers are Grandma's egg rolls, spring rolls, lemongrass tofu, vegetarian egg rolls, chicken dumplings, popcorn chicken, and calamari.
Shrimp spring rolls
We started with an order of the $5.95 shrimp spring rolls, which are large, fresh, filling and a delight, with the rice noodle wrap containing ample shrimp. There’s lettuce, and a hint of mint and perhaps cilantro. The peanut satay sauce is quite good, not spicy, so one can add plenty of heat, if desired. Recommended.

We shared a Caphe Sua Da (Vietnamese coffee, $4.50) with boba "bubbles" and milk. It’s a goodly portion, and appropriately sweet. The boba tapioca balls are sucked up from the bottom via a wide straw. It’s the real deal.

Pho (so hard to correctly pronounce, like” fuuh”, not “foe,”) is basically a meaty clear consommé –style broth made from beef bones, ginger , charred onion and spices like star anise and cinnamon with delicate white rice flour noodles. Some make the broth with chicken instead of beef.

 You, the diner, then add and mix in some or all of the adjacent plate of Thai basil leaves,  lime wedge, mild jalapeno chili peppers, cilantro, and bean sprouts. You may add fish sauce or hoisin sauce. Lemongrass’s pho has a delicate good broth that’s not as “meaty,” or rich as some broth that I've savored.
Try the broth alone, first, and see if it’s to your liking-your mileage may vary. We had perfectly cooked shrimp in ours (meats, not shrimp are traditionally added).  For your pho protein, you can choose from flank steak, brisket, chicken, tofu, rare steak and even meatballs . At $8.95 for a regular bowl, $10.95 for a large bowl, you will have plenty to eat! Recommended.
Vermicelli rice noodles with grilled pork
My favorite was the vermicelli noodles with grilled pork (10.95.) The portion is large, and the tender pork is wonderfully prepared with a lemongrass marinade, sliced, and then placed atop green onions, carrots, ground peanuts, lemongrass, cucumber, and other veggies.
Add the mild fish sauce, or hoisin sauce, toss it with the underlying rice noodles, and you’re in for a delight. There’s also beef, chicken, shrimp, tofu and egg roll as choices. Highly recommended.

The man at the next table ordered the popcorn chicken, and was highly pleased, saying, “We’ll be back to try more!”
There’s an assortment of non-alcoholic beverages-sodas, teas (jasmine, black, coconut milk and taro milk) , juices (apples, orange, cranberry)  and bottled waters.

I look forward to returning as the menu expands, to "make" my own banh mi sandwich, and try other appetizers and the rice platters. It’s easy on the wallet. Very generous portions are served-prepare to take some home. Try it and see!

8970 Fontana del Sol Way, Suite #6 (next to Real Seafood), Naples 734-3769. 
Website pending. Open for Lunch and Dinner. 

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