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Restaurant Critic & Food Blogger
1116 North Rolling Rd, Cantonsville, MD
Today Sunday was such a beautiful day, sunny, a tad bit windy but overall the temps were comfortable. Yes, it would be perfect timing to start Spring cleaning. My wife was keen on cleaning but my daughter and I convinced her to go as a family and enjoy a beautiful Sunday eating, hmmm Indian, Korean or Vietnamese. I had heard on the grapevine that the owner previously owned a Vietnamese restaurant at the Best Western on Loch Raven Blvd some time ago. And all of a sudden, he just abandoned the restaurant. During the time his restaurant was in operation, the food was excellent, delicious and never compromised on anything. I made every chance I had to frequent his restaurant.
I was so depressed when the restaurant closed and neve heard from him in quite awhile. Until a little birdie mentioned this restaurant in Cantonsville, I decided to take my family there today. Hoping to expect nothing different, I ordered the Summer Spring rolls, the regular rolls, the famous chicken wings and my all time favorite egg noodles with shrimp and crabmeat.
Now, you have to realize it took a good 45 minutes to get to this place. I NEVER travel 45 minutes to a restaurant if I didn't have an idea of what was being served and whether it met my approval.
To make a long story short, since Vietnamese food is the new cuisine, I was in shock when I got my food. Literally shocked and disappointed. First, the Summer Spring rolls were bland. Very bland, just thin vermicelli, lettuce, and shrimp. No flavor what so ever. The dipping sauce was all Hoisin sauce, didn't taste have any peanut butter or coconut milk, maybe a sprinkler of crushed peanuts.
Now, I'll tell you this, when I give you my Summer Spring roll recipe, I load it up with slices of fresh marinated roast pork, cilantro, marinated shrimp and crush shallots for a nice crunch.
Second, the fried Spring rolls came and I can't even tell you what was in it. It's suppose to be rice vermicelli, ground pork, ground carrots with a dash of fish sauce and sugar. It was terrible! Literally no flavor! Usually the dipping sauce is the sweet chili sauce. No such luck.
The fried chicken wings were rather small in size and the sauce was watery.
My egg noodle soup with shrimp and crabmeat was terrible! Not only was there imitation crabmeat, I did not receive the fresh bean sprouts or Thai basil, or a jalepeno slice. The broth was from a can.
AND the worst part of the whole experience, the place was packed. We had to wait about 15 minutes.
The only bright part was the traditional Beef Pho, everyone including other Vietnamese patrons ordered the traditional pho. Thank God!
If I was interested in Vietnamese food, I would think that what was served to me other than the beef pho was delicious but I'm here to say that other than the beef pho, the food had no flavor and don't appreciate imitation crabmeat when the menu says crabmeat. Cutting corners my seem alright now but eventually it will catch up with this restaurant. It's a shame, his previous restaurant was excellent.
At this point, if you do go there, just order the various types of beef pho. That's it! because everything else lacked any flavor. If I want a Summer Spring roll with rice vermicelli and lettuce, and pay what I paid, I'm very upset. I travelled 45 minutes for cryin out loud!
On a scale of 1-5 and 5 being the best, everything I ordered except for my wife's beef pho get a "1"
I think they should think about making good quality food that taste good then just focus on making s much money as possible.
AND furthermore, the owner wants to expand his restaurant next door. Good Luck!
By Chef Woo Can at www.chefwoocan.com