My sister finally returned from Seattle (woohoo!) We were trying to take her out to Sur Restaurant, but there were no reservations available. She suggest Vien Café. Of course, first thing I do is Yelp! it to get a feel for the place. 4 stars (not bad)
From the outside it doesn’t look too impressive. Upon walking in, we were greeted by two women. We waited for about 10 Minutes. The venue itself is rather small. They kept it industrial and very “hipster”. The tables/booths are against the walls leaving the center entirely open. Concrete floors and high ceilings help to make the venue seem a lot bigger. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this place for big groups. The one bad thing that I do have to say about this industrial type building is that EVERYTHING echoes. EVERYTHING. There were 2 toddlers and 1 SCREAMING infant. Sorry parents – I just have to say that.
Anyway, we had an order of the vegetarian spring rolls. It is listed under vegetarian plates, but it’s an appetizer. Strips of tofu, vermicelli rice noodles, shredded lettuce, mint, cilantro and bean sprout wrapped in Vietnamese rice paper. Served with Vietnamese peanut sauce. The peanut sauce was delicious. It was not runny, like it is in some places, and I really enjoyed the peanut chunks in it. Plus, they provide a nice portion for those of you who love to drench your spring rolls.
My sister and I each had the vegetarian pho, mine with no mushrooms (I’m allergic). Important to note is that you have an option to have brown rice noodles and a gluten free option. I found this vegetarian pho to taste more authentic than other vegetarian pho’s that I’ve had.
Lastly, we finished the night off with the banana fritters. Fresh bananas wrapped in wonton shells. Lightly fried, topped with powdered cinnamon and sugar, and served warm with your choice of chocolate, honey or maple syrup. We had the maple syrup and no ice cream of course. It kind of tasted like a lighter version of a plantain empanada (I don’t know if that’s even a helpful reference).
The Jasmine tea is very delicious. Both my mom and I had a pot of it.
The service was great
NOTE: you do have to request the check otherwise you’ll wait around forever. Also, there is street parking.
6118 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90035