My boyfriend and I went on a double date last night at a new restaurant in Yaletown at House Special. We were invited as my friend knows the owners and I went because I hadn’t seen my friend in a long time. I was told it was a Vietnamese restaurant so I expected pho and rice noodles. To my surprise their dishes were beyond any regular Vietnamese restaurant.
Upon walking to the door I was greeted by cute paper lanterns strung on their patio with industrial brick of Yaletown as the backdrop made me feel as if I were in a different city. Walking through the door you are immediately greeted by an big open bar seating. Their menu was simple, and amazingly affordable with their share plates. Their tapas style Vietnamese cuisine was one of the first surprises of the night.
Our group ordered a few dishes but my favourites, that I now crave, were the spring rolls, crispy ribs, Saigon steak and Vietnamese pork tacos. I should have remembered the proper names for these dishes as they might seem like the ribs/steak/tacos you can get anywhere but they really are not. I’ve never had ribs so juicy and savoury at the same time, the meat literally came off the bone. Their pork tacos were very different from your average taco as it was more like a crepe wrap made with coconut than a flour or corn tortilla shell. I thought that the big seller for me was that everything tasted fresh. From the basil to the beansprout it all tasted as if it were just delivered that morning which was a surprise as I’ve been to far too many pho diners with I feel I should have been more adventurous and gone for salads and their pho but that just means I have more of a reason to come back.
My boyfriend who claims that he is not a fan of Vietnamese food (I didn’t tell my friend this ahead of time to save face) was suddenly converted and already wants to go back. Their wine & beer menu along with the already happening buzz in Yaletown leads me to predict that this restaurant will be this summer’s social dinner destination for those wanting to explore a modern take on Vietnamese cuisine.