Red meat eaters salivate at the mere mention of this specialty beef house out on the dyke road continuation just beyond the Sofitel Plaza. It's packed solid for lunch and dinner seven days a week. I've been chowing down on the cow here for a solid five years or more and, as far as steak-houses go, I'd be shocked to find anything better anywhere in the capital.
Getting a berth at a table is the hard part. It's a bit dog-eat-dog to be honest as there's no system for making reservations nor a stroppy maitre de to muscle customers into line. Beady eyes, sharp elbows and a fast sprinting wide arse have more than once been deployed by this customer to mark some territory in this establishment. Thankfully it all runs smoothly thereafter.
There's a clear division of labour based on gender. Boys cook cows and girls serve them in this joint, the whole act overseen by a very astute couple who are never far away from the cash tin. The kitchen is smaller than the average home kitchen, yet six to eight boys clad in chef gear manage to bump around the grills, woks and salad prep area churning out dozens of plates an hour.
Bits of cow are slapped on all but the side plates of salad.
Because I haven't consulted my cuts of beef chart recently, I can't elaborate on exactly what the bits are. Let me just say that there are long rolls of beef stuffed with ham and melted cheese (bo cuon pho ma), there is diced beef stir-fried with pepper and onion (bo luc lac) and there is the good old standard beef steak with chips and bread to mop up the gravy (bi tet). These are the flag-bearers for me but the simple menu of photos (no prices!) exhibits many more beef dishes, including a spag bol (my y), and allows those of us with rudimentary Vietnamese to simply point to order.
This cow house is a place where meat eaters can congregate and rejoice!
One serve pho cuon pho ma, one of bo luc lac, side plates of chips, salad and rice, several beers - around the 500,000VND mark (USD$29.20, AUD$36.20)...for four big eaters!
192 Nghi Tam