Vietnam Restaurant

Best Vietnamese Restaurant, August 2008

We’ll drive to Little Saigon in Westminster to score the complex sweet-salty-spicy flavors of authentic Vietnamese cuisine. But the generically named Vietnam Restaurant in San Gabriel is equal to anything the O.C. has to offer. Cá nuong, a whole baked catfish, arrives with fresh herbs rarely found stateside. Fluted curls of barbecued squid melt in your mouth. Charred, juicy pork is wrapped in lacy vermicelli mats called bánh hoi. Eschewing shrimp paste, chef Hang Le minces her own shrimp, which is grilled on lengths of sugarcane. Where’s the pho? It’s here, along with a slew of regional noodle soups.