Lac Viet Bistro

Written by on May 27, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Orlando, Florida

How I heard of this place: Lani first introduced us to Lac Viet when she was brainstorming places to take us on our first visit to Orlando. After a large brunch at Keke’s, two hours of kayaking at Wekiwa State Park and swimming in the complex pool, it was time to enjoy a cozy dinner out.

Type of cuisine: Lac Viet offers a large selection of beverages to start, including a variety of bubble teas, which two of our diners sampled for the first time! Hot teas, cold teas, carbonated lemonade (Soda Chanh) and Nuoc Dua, a young coconut drink are also available, as is a large selection of beers. Appetizers, main entrees with beef, pork, chicken, seafood and vegetarian options, as well as soups, noodles, rice dishes and curries deck the menu, giving over one hundred options from which to choose. Everyone finds something to enjoy on a menu like this! “Lac Viet Bistro is synonymous with fine Vietnamese dining. For the past five years, we have been recognized by a multitude of newspapers and magazines that have not only called Lac Viet “finest in Orlando” but also Orlando’s “City’s Best.” Our menu offers numerous dishes that we hope will satisfy your appetite or perhaps open your mind to a whole new dining experience. Lac Viet Bistro offers our patrons authentic and distinctive Vietnamese cuisine, featuring many specialties that hail back to the ancient traditions of Vietnam. Our vast menu has drawn in customers from all over the world and we would like to invite you to become part of our diverse family. Come experience these Vietnamese delicacies in a warm and inviting atmosphere amidst beautiful surroundings of genuine Vietnamese instruments and paintings. Our newly renovated outdoor seating is open to all guests and their pets! Lac Viet Bistro is available for parties and wedding services.”

Ambiance: Entering the space, one feels quite at home in this house-like setting. The rust-colored walls in deep fall shades, separated at waist-height with wooden seams are ornamented with paintings of food and people (each for sale), and musical instruments. Bamboo curtains hanging from the ceilings separate marble tiled floors and laminate floors, while creating a peaceful and serene, intimate and cozy, personal dining space. Romantic lighting, dim and dark-toned assisted to create calm amongst the sleek, wooden chairs set against white linen-clothed tables with a glass cover. Black columns with glass vases holding blooming shoots of bamboo, baskets of tall greens and smaller vases with pink flowers added life and color to the dim space. Paper lanterns grace the sides of floor-to-ceiling pillars, and the sounds of running are heard from the indoor fountain trickling into a gigantic, ceramic vase, dried bamboo in circular décor feeding into the well. Friendly, knowledgeable and honest staff seat and assist patrons with their orders, their selections and in efforts to truly make us feel, at home.

What I ordered: To begin, I ordered the Nuoc Dua ($2.50), a sweet, young coconut drink with floating pieces of soft coconut flesh. One of my dining companions ordered a Heineken ($3.50), and then another one, as the evening progressed. My third dining companion tasted taro Bubble Tea ($3) for the first time, enjoying the purple, mild milk-flavored drink with black tapioca pearls. Our fourth dining companion started with the Thai Tea Bubble Tea ($3), downed it and then ordered a second: Passion Fruit Bubble Tea ($3). Our appetizers included the Cha Gio Tom ($3.50), two crispy shrimp egg rolls served with a mildly sweet dipping sauce, and the Bo Tai Chanh/Bo Tai Me ($8.95), thinly sliced lemon-cured (or tamarind-cured) beef with fried garlic, sauteed onions, herbs, basil and crushed peanuts, served with black sesame seed infused wontons. We almost went with the Lac Viet Dac Biet (appetizer $15.95), where we could sample Cha Gio tom, Cha Gio, Nem Nurong, Thit Nurong, Chao Tom (shrimp egg roll, pork egg roll, grilled pork balls, grilled pork, & grilled ground shrimp on sugar cane, but decided against it when we realized that it could be a lot of food! For our main entree, Lani selected the 44: Bun Thai ($8.95), where the savory flavor of lemongrass and bai makrut broth is served over noodles with fish filet, shrimp, squid and beef (spicy). The dish came served with a small plate of bean sprouts, basil, lime wedges, tomato slices and jalapenos. Chris enjoyed number 69: Bun Xao Singapore ($11.95), rice noodle sauteed with pork, chicken, garnished with thinly slices egg, carrot, celery, onions with a touch of curry. Looking for a beef dish, I selected the Sa Ot ($9.95), beef, red & green bell peppers and onions sauteed in a lemongrass and chili sauce (spicy), served with a side of rice. Our last dining companion, Mark, new to the world of Vietnamese cuisine, selected number 108: ($12.95) sauteed beef served over fresh watercress with a side of rice and mini, green chilis for added spice.

What I loved: I sampled the Bun Thai and the Bun Xao Singapore in addition to my Sa Ot, and really, enjoyed my Sa Ot the most! The slightly sweet, yet lightly spicy flavor of the sauce, the thinly sliced beef and crispy vegetables over jasmine steamed rice satisfied!

Why I loved it: The food is delicious, fresh and the portions balanced and large. The space is cozy and warm and the staff friendly and knowledgeable. It was easy to make yourself and feel at home at Lac Viet.

Cost: Low ($8.95 to $12.95 per – sharable – dinner entree)

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