Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thang Long Restaurant (Westminster, CA)

Thang Long Restaurant
9550 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683
714.531.9400 (Yelp, restaurant has no web site)
Sun 06/21/2009, 01:40a-02:10a

Saturday, June 20 was the date of my 10-year high school reunion. I wasn't too keen on going at first, but goaded on by some of my classmates, I caved and shelled out $108 at the door to attend. The event itself was held at Don The Beachcomber in Huntington Beach (one of those kitschy tiki restaurants), and given the sorry excuse for food that we had there, I was left wondering what all the money had gone toward.

Nevertheless, it was fun to see everyone again, to see who went on to becoming smashing successes after high school, and to see who floundered out the gate, who got drafted in the NFL, who got fat, who came out of the closet, who married rich. But perhaps--and I hate to be clichéd here--the more things change, the more they stay the same. Talking to people, it seemed like the bulk of them were just like they were in high school, plus 10 years of age, a few extra pounds, and perhaps a child or two--the popular kids are still popular, the prettiest girl in our class still is, and E.T. is still, far and away, the life of the party. All this had gotten me into a rather introspective mood, as in what have I accomplished over this past decade?

In any case, after the party ended, a few dozen of us made our way to O'Malley's on Main in Seal Beach, an Irish pub. I'd just finished a pint of Guinness before I had to leave. It turns out that one of my colleagues had gotten into a scuffle with the bouncer there, and it was on me to simmer down the situation. We successfully avoided a more serious altercation, but my buddy was pretty wasted, so we needed to get him sobered up before he could drive home...

...Enter Thang Long. Somewhere along the line, it was decided that a piping hot bowl of pho would be perfect for such a task; the problem was that we needed a place that'd be open at 1:00AM. Ryan of Only Eat What Feeds Your Soul (yes, we actually went to the same high school) suggested Thang Long, specifically for their filet mignon pho. Off we went.

Thang Long Restaurant Exterior
Interestingly, there are actually two restaurants named Thang Long in the same strip mall. The first it Pho Thang Long (which was once housed at 15579 Brookhurst), and the second is Thang Long Restaurant. The former, I gather, is supposed to specialize in pho, while the latter apparently has a larger selection of dishes (though still has a large pho selection). But from what I hear, the consensus is that the Restaurant actually has better pho, so go figure.

Thang Long Restaurant Interior Thang Long Restaurant Interior
Pho Thang Long is famous (or infamous, rather) for its contemporary decor, replete with 20-ft ceilings, orange walls, and a waterfall. Well, Thang Long Restaurant doesn't fall far from the tree, with the same high ceilings, green walls, and a fountain. A stark contrast to the "ghettoness" of your typical pho joint no?

Ca Phe Sua Da
Ca Phe Sua Da [$2.00] | Iced Filtered Coffee with Milk
Ca phe sua da literally translates to "iced coffee with milk," and is basically a concoction of coffee mixed in with condensed milk, poured over ice. It was a great combination of sweet and bitter, and rather strong to boot.

Com Tam Bi Cha, Heo Nuong Com Tam Bi Cha, Heo Nuong
Com Tam Bi Cha, Heo Nuong [$6.95] | Rice with Shredded Pork, Steam Egg & Charbroiled Pork
Before the pho, we shared a plate of broken rice, served with heo nuong (grilled pork), bi (shredded pork), and trung hap (steamed egg), accompanied by pickled vegetables and nuoc cham dipping sauce. The pork itself was competent enough, though perhaps a bit dry, while I preferred the rice drenched in nuoc cham. My favorite bit was actually the steamed egg "omelet."

Pho Accoutrements Filet Mignon
Pho Tai Filet Mignon Pho Tai Filet Mignon
Pho Tai Filet Mignon, Large [$6.95] | Rare Filet Mignon Steak
Now this is what we came for. We were first presented with a plate of the requisite pho accoutrements: bean sprouts, chili peppers, lime, Thai basil, and ngo gai (sawtooth herb). Next was a plate of thinly-sliced filet mignon, in a lovely shade of crimson. Finally came the large bowl of noodles and broth, intermixed with diced cilantro and onion; we eagerly tossed in the garnishes, threw in a few slices of beef, and tucked into the pho. I gotta say that the filet was one of the best cuts of meat that I've had with pho--extremely tender, it slid down my throat and kept me wanting more. The rest of the dish was quite tasty, though not heads-and-shoulders above other versions I've had. As usual, the various veggies, the sprouts and basil especially, provided a tangy, vegetal counterpoint to the richness of the soup, making for an enjoyable experience.

The pho here, at least the filet mignon pho, was pretty solid--I hand it to Ryan for finding this place. Though at the same time, I wonder if it'd still hold up in a non-late night, non-buzzed situation. Whatever the case, by the end of the meal, my buddy was just about sober, and was able to drive home just fine. I guess that makes Thang Long a winner in my book.


Blogger Kung Food Panda said...

I still haven't tried filet mignon pho in Little Saigon or the SGV.....

One thing though, I wish we had this option back up North to cure drunken situations like this. I think all we had was Denny's.....

Thursday, July 09, 2009 7:32:00 AM  
Blogger weezermonkey said...

I'm all about ghettoness when it comes to pho. The more ghetto, the better.

This place's modernity actually makes me raise an eyebrow...kinda like Susan Feniger's Street. :P

Thursday, July 09, 2009 8:26:00 AM  
Blogger Wesley said...

nice - I've been hanging out in that the Westminster area a lot (group projects). Today is our final and I'm going to hang out there and get a little hammered and maybe stop by Thang Long.

Thursday, July 09, 2009 8:30:00 AM  
Blogger dhkm said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thursday, July 09, 2009 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger dhkm said...

How is the steam egg different than Japanese version of tamagoyaki

Thursday, July 09, 2009 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger MyLastBite said...

Yea, the steamed egg omelet looks really interesting!

Thursday, July 09, 2009 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger FoodDigger said...

Nothin' like a bowl of pho to chase away the spins. I'm usually a tendon and tripe guy with pho, but the filet mignon pho looks interesting. I'll have to check this out

Thursday, July 09, 2009 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Gastronomer said...

Count me as one of the uninitiated to pho filet. Like Will, I'm a tripe kinda pho slurper.

Thursday, July 09, 2009 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Danny: This was my first experience with filet mignon pho as well. BTW, there's absolutely nothing wrong with Denny's, as long as you go there drunk. ;)

Sharon: The decor should make you raise an eyebrow; detractors say that it's there to attract non-Vietnamese customers. I don't know if that's the case or not, but the food was solid, so I'll give it a pass, green walls and all.

Wesley: Getting hammered after finals, that's the way to do it. Reminds me of my MBA... ;)

Dason: At the minimum, tamagoyaki is fried I believe, whereas this is steamed.

Jo: It was, and was the best part of that plate!

Will: This was my first time using pho is such a manner. Usually it's Denny's or In-N-Out, if they're still open.

Cathy: I guess the pho filet appeals to posh fools like myself. ;)

Thursday, July 09, 2009 4:27:00 PM  
Blogger dhkm said...

There are two form of egg dish can classified as tamagoyaki - 卵焼き - mostly serve sushi shop which is pan fried. There are also 伊達巻(Datemaki), which could ether steam/bake. It's cooking methos are like カステラ(Castella)except it contain fish or shrimp paste. normally Datemaki are only serve during Japanese new year and special event, but now there are pre-package one you can buy which does not contain the paste. In some sushi shop they will sell Datemaki as sweet-tamagoyaki as part of their dessert menu.


the tamago you have at Urawasa ( are form of Datemaki, i believe his version are bake.

Thursday, July 09, 2009 5:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like you hang out with a tough crowd kevin! and i thought raider games were bad (a fan..not bad mouthing them!)


Thursday, July 09, 2009 6:15:00 PM  
Blogger digkv said...

Oh Kevin! I do love this restaurant actually. The filet mignon pho is quite good but my favorite dish here has got to be the bun cha ha noi. It's a Northern style noodle dish with thit nuong and a meatloaf ball in a bowl of fish sauce with papaya and carrots. The noodles are served on the side with herbs and stuff. I was introduced to this dish after watching Anthony Bourdain eat it in his Vietnam episode and fell in love with this restaurant's version.

Thursday, July 09, 2009 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Dason: Ah thanks for that clarification. It seems like the egg here was less spongy and cake-like than datemaki. Urasawa's version of tamago definitely does appear to be datemaki however.

Paul: Nah, they just like to act tough, especially when drunk. ;)

Kevin: Thanks for that tip. The bun cha ha noi sounds delish, and I'll definitely keep it in mind next time!

Thursday, July 09, 2009 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger yenasung said...

I've yet to go over to the green side, I'm always at the orange side for their chargroiled pork bun. I've never been there before 11pm, either, and the clientele at that hour definitely makes for a funner experience. You should try their other drinks. They're pretty good! But definitely try the bun dishes next time!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 1:56:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Ah thanks for the tip. Maybe I'll venture over to the orange side next time. ;)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 2:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you tell me what green paint color is used for the walls?

Saturday, March 01, 2014 5:38:00 AM  

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