For those who want a gigantic bowl of cheap pho, Bodega Bistro is probably not for you. It’s a proper sit-down restaurant in Little Saigon that has a rather extensive menu which is properly Vietnamese as as well as French. For those who slept through history (or any movie on the Vietnam War), Vietnam was a French colony at one point, so the nod to this aspect of history is perfectly reasonable although rarely seen.
What I didn’t understand about Bodega Bistro was the name as it seems to be a blending of the Spanish “bodega” meaning “wine cellar and “bistro” from French for well, “bistro” which made little sense despite their having a strong wine selection. As it turns out, “bodega” is apparently from “bo-de-ga” which is “beef-lamb-chicken” in Vietnamese, albeit more formally written “bò” “đẻ” “gà”, except that “đẻ” means tongue (or a number of other things depending on the accents), so I don’t know what the actual deal is, which makes sense given I don’t know Vietnamese whatsoever.
All of your TenderAuthors were eating out at this one and seeing as how myself and evarels were very early, stubbornly hungry, and despite hiphapa’s arriving at the actual time, we piggishly ordered of the rolls to gnaw on before she arrived, which were might tasty. Guilt of pre-ordering prior to group assemblage as charged.
Of course, once all seated, we ordered up properly and someone (hiphapa) decided to get the squab. Now, I grew up butchering pigs, cows, and sheep in the great wilds of Northern California, but I’ve never ascribed to the notion that the less edible portions should be served up with the more edible. Not everyone agrees on this as the squab comes with the claws and of course, the head:
It should be noted that the squab was indeed good though, as long as you can block out the head aspect if it bothers you. The other dishes were solid as well. I mean, you really can’t go wrong whether it’s a simple pho, the more elaborate dac biet that evarels had, the prawns that hiphapa had, or a more elaborate chicken dish that I had. Chef-owner Jimmie Kwok knows his business when it comes to preparing traditional Vietnamese dishes along with well, traditional French dishes.
One thing to note in all of this is that Bodega attracts groups and while I generally hate groups at restaurants due to their size and composite drunkenness, these groups didn’t bother me at all. In fact one group nearest us was hilarious. Everyone was getting completely shitfaced on wine that the servers kept lining up to decant. Maybe if I understood Vietnamese, I would have told them to stop saying things about the ladies at our table, but as it was, they were just silly and amusing as well to watch. It ain’t Teatro Zinzzani, but on some level dinner is also the show at Bodega Bistro and you should give it a try if you want to have a different angle on Vietnamese dining.