The Seven Best Vietnamese Restaurants in St. Louis
Wings capable of changing your life. | Cheryl Baehr
(9737 Manchester Road; 314-918-8868)
The soups are the highlights of the menu, along with the mi vit tiem, or five-herbs duck soup -- a clean, savory broth hinted at just a scent of lemongrass perfume to give it a subtle sweetness and duck, its skin somehow able to maintain its crispiness even though it was resting atop a bowl of steaming soup (they really get texture at Mi Linh). However, it's the butter garlic chicken wings that will leave a lasting impression. These meaty wings burst with garlic pungency, and the breading has a delicate, crispy texture. Green and white onions cooked in the pan drippings of the chicken are infused with the garlic, spices and pepper and serve as a bed for the wings. This is one of the best dishes in town and alone merit a visit. Have fun with a creative cocktail list that includes concoctions made with house infused vodkas.
Dao Tien Vietnamese Bistro
(8600 Olive Boulevard, University City; 314-995-6960)
While the menu here isn't as broad or as adventurous as at other Vietnamese restaurants in the area, it offers many of the most popular dishes, and what Dao Tien does, it does well. You certainly can't go wrong starting your meal with an order of goi cuon (spring rolls), one of a half-dozen appetizers. The filling keeps things simple: vermicelli, crisp mint and plump shrimp; on the side, for dipping, is a thick hoisin-peanut sauce. The cha gio (egg rolls) come with a side of the restaurant's excellent nuoc cham dipping sauce. Tart and spicy, nuoc cham is a signature Vietnamese condiment, its flavor profile drawn with bold strokes of fish sauce (nuoc mam), lime juice, vinegar and minced chiles and garlic.
-- Ian Froeb
Read original review of Dao Tien here: Nuoc Charm: Dao Tien is a peach of a Vietnamese bistro, and a slice of home-style heaven