When you imagine the diet of a Texan, I’m sure you think it consists of red meat, red meat and more red meat. This Texan on the other hand, prefers Asian cuisine at every meal- breakfast, noon and night. So imagine my excitement when I heard that a Vietnamese restaurant was opening in Tel Aviv.
I had waited, and waited, and waited some more, until finally, Vong (15 Rothschild) opened. Last night we went, and we won’t go back.
After being seated, we were presented with a sample of the house cocktail of the evening (carrot juice and coconut milk, which was surprisingly appetizing), as well as a small sprouts and cucumber salad with tahini (which, sadly, was probably the most flavorful thing all night).
There were three of us for dinner, so we ordered three things and split them: Pho Bo (soup with noodles and beef), mixed dumplings (chicken and veggie filling), and Beef Banh (kind of like Vietnamese hamburgers).
Once they took the Pho away to be reheated, it was alright (it arrived only slightly warmer than the water in our glasses). The broth was tasty, with a cinnamon-y undertone. However, the beef was flavorless and very tough. What really helped the soup overcome its blah-ness was the plate of adornments that came with it- cilantro, mint, bean sprouts, chilis, lemon, and onions. Though it wasn’t great, we all agreed that out of the three things we ordered, this was the best.
Next were the dumplings. While the filling was satisfactory to the point of enjoyable, the dough of the wrapper was like glue. Too thick, too much flour, too disappointing.
Our last nibble, was just that (maybe slightly more). The banh comes in twos, and there are no half orders. So the three of us split the two (you do the math). While the sticky bun was just how I like it, the whole course was a bit lacking in general. Again the beef had little seasoning or heat, and the saving grace came in the cilantro and green onion that were blanketing the beef.
All in all, this is not a restaurant that I would return to or recommend. It wasn’t cheap, the portions weren’t big; however they did have real siracha and Asian beer, and gave us a 15% discount in the end (but it was probably because the power blew out twice!).
Vong, Tel Aviv
I’d put the phone number here, but are you really going to call after reading this?