I’ve been searching for a “user-friendly” place to get my feet with with Vietnamese food because I feel like I’m missing out on so much of Atlanta’s food options. Though it’s actually in Charlotte, Vietnam Grille, was just the place I needed for an introduction. Charlotte bloggers and Yelpers were singing its praises, so Mario and I decided to check it out one gorgeous weekend in the Queen City.
Our server was super friendly and apparently recognized the slightly perplexed looks on our faces, as he asked if it was our first time eating Vietnamese and gave some suggestions. I decided to try the phở with flank steak and brisket, and Mario got the broken rice (which I believe was Cơm tấm, but correct me if I’m wrong) with chicken:
Our dishes came out literally within 5 minutes and we dug in.
We both really enjoyed our meals. The enormous bowl of phở, while probably not the best idea for a hot day, was comprised of a heap of rice noodles, in a deliciously seasoned broth with slices of meat floating around. I also got a plate of basil, lime, bean sprouts, and peppers to mix in at my leisure (I did end up trying the phở with the additions of the first 3 ingredients). Mario’s cơm tấm was one of the “safer” items on the menu, and what the waiter recommended when we asked about “something chicken-y for a first timer.” He liked the seasoning on the chicken and even ended up pouring most of the accompanying fish sauce over the rice and chicken (but don’t tell him that’s what it was).
Toward the end of our meal, the owner of Vietnam Grill, Ricky Lai, came out to speak with some of the front of the house folk, and ended up stopping by our table to see how we liked our food. He commented that the place is full of Johnson & Wales culinary school students on weekdays, and pointed out a customer that comes in every day and always gets a double order of the chicken cơm tấm (which we witnessed him inhale in 10 min flat).
If I can convince Mario to visit again I definitely think we’ll be back. I’m also taking recommendations for Vietnamese spots to visit in ATL!