Viet Bites ~ Denton, Texas

The RJG just returned from a 6 day vacation, which I hope to report on soon. However, while catching up on e-mails, I discovered that none other than Mr. Music had sent us a fresh review. Alright! So take it away Mr. Music....

A recent drive from the Denton library with Mrs. Music, Music Jr., and Baby Music revealed a welcome sight!  A new restaurant on S. Elm called Viet Bites!  I was just talking to Music Jr. a few days ago about how cool it would be for a real Vietnamese restaurant to come to Denton.  We couldn't wait to go!  I have to admit that it tickles me that my 8 year old daughter often asks me when we can go for spring rolls and pho! 

On Friday night we met another couple at this cute little, standalone building. It looks like it once may have been a one-off taco stand or something similar. As we walked in, we marveled at the rows of fresh Thai basil with their purple leaves and Thai chilies pointing to the sky surrounding the perimeter!

Even under the cute awning, it was too hot to enjoy the seating outside so we opted for a seat in the a/c filled dining room. A slight complaint is that the a/c wasn't working so well so it was a little warm and sticky inside, but I believe that was a temporary condition.  When I first looked around, and then saw the menu, I was a little worried. The menu looked really small and I was afraid the food might be like a wannabe version of the dishes I enjoy. I've been to places like that before.  

Much to my surprise, the menu is packed with a variety of interesting items. These guys just do a great job of streamlining.  Plus the waiter let us know there are always a few special items not on the menu.  Today they had fried calamari with a pepper seasoned batter and 'tofu fries' - strips of tofu, cut and fried. We had already ordered spring rolls, so we decided to wait to try them another time. The spring rolls came with all the right stuff: Peanut sauce, hoisen, and Sriracha! The spring rolls were good but not spectacular.   

On the menu, in the upper left corner, are the appetizers with a variety of rolls (fried and steamed), crab rangoon, lettuce wraps, and even wings in a spicy blend with fish sauce! Below that is a section with a build-your-own pho with offerings of beef (steak, meatballs, flank steak), chicken, as well as a veggie/tofu soup appropriately called 'pho-get the meat'!

Baby Music got some grilled chicken which was lovely - moist and tasty grilled strips.  Music Jr. opted for some pho w/o meat and loved it.  Mrs. Music wasn't very hungry and just picked off the kids plates. I got the jumbo combination with rare steak, meatballs and flank steak.  I got the big bowl even though our waiter warned me that it was huge - and it was!  Lots of toothsome meat and a good portion of noodles in a dark, rich broth.  In fact, I told the waiter what I want in a large bowl is lots of broth but it was just too packed with other goodies.  Thirty seconds later a large bowl of hot broth was at my side and it was good!  They boast a 6 hours process with herbs and spices to make the broth and it really shows. I do have a personal suggestion: If they added a bit more ginger to the broth, it would be perfect! The noodles were cooked 'to the tooth' as they say!

One of the highlights of the evening was the staff. Our waiter was very personable and upbeat, not to mention very attentive.  A young woman, who I believe was the owner, came out to talk with us and she was very friendly as well.

I will definitely be back!  One thing I noticed - they have Vietnamese tacos and they look great! Another reason is the rest of the menu!  The right side, as compact as it is, has a plethora of interesting options. This is the 'build your own meal' section! First, you choose a style: Bun (noodle dishes), Bahn Mi (the scrumptious sandwiches in French rolls - love that bbq pork!), or Com (rice plates).  Next you pick a protein: Lemongrass chicken, shrimp or tofu, char-grilled pork or beef. Then you can add some veggies like avocado, kim chi, cucumber, sprouts, cilantro, lettuce, herbs, and jalapeno! Finally a variety of sauces complete the dish: Citrus ginger, soy and shallot vinaigrette, sweet and sour, fish sauce dressing or peanut sauce.

Oh, and  the prices were very reasonable. I paid $7.95 for the jumbo meat combo. Ohhh, and I had one of those 'what a small world' experiences.  When I was in Southern Mississippi recently visiting some family, I had my first begneit! A begneit is basically a thick sopapilla that was invented in New Orleans (ED: Beignets were declared the official state doughnut of Louisiana in 1986). I try not to eat fried food that much, but OMG, they are delicious!  These yummy treats are a highlight of the desert menu. They also have some other interesting items like pandon and coconut cake! Did I mention I'm really looking forward to going back??  


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