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Mi La Cay (Formerly Song Phat) in Wheaton, Now Located on University Boulevard near Georgia Avenue


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Song Phat has their grand opening signs up so I went for a quick lunch today. Vietnamese noodle house & grill menu with a few additions. I tried the grilled meat wrapped in grape leaf and the papaya salad with grilled shrimp. The meatballs were tasty enough but a bit large so the ratio of crispy to center was a little low. The papaya salad was good loaded with red pepper for a hot kick. The grilled shrimp were ok. They ahve only been open a few days and I hope they keep working on the execution to raise it a touch. As it is, the best Wheaton Vietnamese choice and a good spot for fresh, spicy food right now.

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(cross posted)

View Postdeangold, on 20 January 2010 - 07:28 PM, said:
I drove by Hung Phat last night and the sign is still up for that but there is another sign for a noodle house. Looking thru the glass door, it looked like a dried good spot. I was not int he mood to try and figure it all out so I instead went for Kabon n Kahari. But in a more brain awake mood, I will be back to explore.

And there is a sign for a bahn mi place on Grandview, but as far as I can see, it is in Saigonaise.

Hung Phat is still the grocery store--Song Phat is the Noodle and Grill at the back of the store. They've just added more things to the menu. I was at the grocery tonight and picked up a menu. I'll try to scan it and post (hopefully this weekend.) I do know that the original chef (Jimmy) is back and will be doing the cooking, and the menu has definitely expanded. I don't recall them having Banh Mi before, though..(since Jimmy took over the place).and I don't recall seeing it on the new menu either.

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I don't know a lick of Vietnamese. With that in mind, I wonder why there's an inversion here:

Hương Quế (Restaurant) and Sông Quế (Grocery Store)

vs.

Hưng Phát (Grocery Store) and Sông Phát (Restaurant)

I guess Hương and Hưng aren't the same word, huh.

Cheers,

Rocks.

(Who is finally figuring out that Full Key, Full Kee, Vinh Kee, Miu Kee, and Wong Gee are all using the character (or are they?).

Incidentally, I ordered takeout from Oriental Gourmet three nights ago, and my fortune cookie said, "Go get life."

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I went to Song Phat what ever ir is also called and had a nice lunch. The summer rolls were good if a little unusual in that they had a roll of fried wrapper stuffed with ground meat inside with added a chew that was a little odd. The nuoc mam was particularly good. If it came with a wedge of lime, the whole would have been improved. Then I had a bowl of the eponymous egg noodle soup which was conforting on a day that balanced between cold and not too bad. I took the BBQ pork version which had a quadruple line up of meats: bbq & roast pork, liver of some sort and shrimp along with a totally unnecessary fried shrimp in a round wrapper which tasted of pre bought shiu mai wrapper. The fried shrimp thingie took away from the delicate and balanced bowl of broth and other stuff. The broth was lightly salted and very full of flavor and augurs well for a return trip to try the pho.

I started off trying to go to Toan. the new pho place in Cloverly but it was dark with no hours sign on a Thursday afternoon at 12:05pm. I hope they either overslept or are closed Thursday as I have heard good about it. Anyone know?

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Dean, I'm not a great authority on pho, but I've been twice in the last week and had pho both times. To my taste buds, the broth was suitably rich and the amount of meat is on the generous side. I enjoyed both bowls very much. I had the beef stuffed grape leaves as an app the first time and was quite pleased. It's nice to return to the scene of the old Nava Thai, as it reminds me of the good old days. My first visit was on a week day and it was almost deserted....but I went this past Sunday and it was full....mostly families.

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I started off trying to go to Toan. the new pho place in Cloverly but it was dark with no hours sign on a Thursday afternoon at 12:05pm. I hope they either overslept or are closed Thursday as I have heard good about it. Anyone know?

I passed by Toan yesterday too around 1:30p and noticed the same thing; but I found out that they had an emergency that morning and was closed til later that evening.

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Tried this place today, thought it was great. Can anyone here differentiate these menu items? We had the first two, and found a subtle difference in the broths, but the ingredients were largely the same.

Mi La Cay - La Cay Egg Noodle (kho hayNuoc)

Mi La Cay Thap Cam - La Cay Egg Noodle Combination (Kho,Nuoc)

Mi Hoac Hu Tieu Nam Vang - Phnom Penh Egg Noodle (Kho,Nuoc)

It's called Mi La Cay now, although the sign for Song Phat is up as well, and the carryout menu says Song Phat in small letters with Mi La Cay in larger letters underneath.

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I passed by Toan yesterday too around 1:30p and noticed the same thing; but I found out that they had an emergency that morning and was closed til later that evening.

ood to know. I feel a need for some pho and I have heard good things about Toan and will defintely be back to Song Phat.

As I recall, the first two are roast pork only and roast pork and bbq pork which is fattier and a little moister than the roast. In any case, the pork broth is nothing short of exceptional.... very porky with a hint of spice in the background

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Thanks. Hers definitely had the bbq pork and mine didn't, but we thought the broths tasted different as well. Perhaps just because of the flavor of the bbq pork rubbing off. The broth was fantastic. I'm a sriracha abuser with my pho but today I barely spiced things up at all because the broth was so fantastic.

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We went last night--the pho was quite tasty. We also had the summer rolls, and it took me a bit to figure out what the "crunch" was. I first thought it was the shrimp that was fried, but then realized it was the pork. Unlike Dean I didn't think it was odd--instead I thought it was unique and the best tasting summer roll I've tasted! I do agree with Dean on the Nuoc Mam, though. And the basil was very fresh and flavorful as well.

Mr. S had the "M2" but I didn't pay enough attention as to everything that was in it. There was definitely liver, that funny shaped fried shrimp thing, regular shrimp and I think pork? He said it was tasty, but he couldn't finish it, which is unusual for him. And it tasted good enough to warrant getting a "to go" container to bring the extra broth home.

I understand that the restaurant is keeping the Song Phat name, and adding Mi La Cay. I do have the menu at home so I'll scan and post it this weekend. Glad to hear they've been busy, as at 8:00 last night there were only a few tables seated.

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We went last night--the pho was quite tasty. We also had the summer rolls, and it took me a bit to figure out what the "crunch" was. I first thought it was the shrimp that was fried, but then realized it was the pork. Unlike Dean I didn't think it was odd--instead I thought it was unique and the best tasting summer roll I've tasted! I do agree with Dean on the Nuoc Mam, though. And the basil was very fresh and flavorful as well.

Mr. S had the "M2" but I didn't pay enough attention as to everything that was in it. There was definitely liver, that funny shaped fried shrimp thing, regular shrimp and I think pork? He said it was tasty, but he couldn't finish it, which is unusual for him. And it tasted good enough to warrant getting a "to go" container to bring the extra broth home.

I understand that the restaurant is keeping the Song Phat name, and adding Mi La Cay. I do have the menu at home so I'll scan and post it this weekend. Glad to hear they've been busy, as at 8:00 last night there were only a few tables seated.

nfortunately, at 12:30 on Thursday they ahd 3 people seated and one more came in as I was wating for my bowl.
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M3 and the P8, a plate of the grilled grape leaves and the papaya salad. The verdict is that this is seriously good food, and it has jumped up to my favorite SE Asian spot ahead of the inconsistent Thai duo of note. The papaya salad is leff sharo and more earthy than a Thai verision. The grilled beef is spot on and less greasy than most. The pho suffered only in comparison to the wonderful pork broth of the egg noodle soup. Really good and friendly if language limited service.

The story on the name change is it is the same family but different family members running the show. When I commented that the food was better, I got the impression that I said the right thing.

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M1 roast pork only. M2 BBQ pork. M3 is a very fast BMW! It also comes with chopped pork and does not have the shrimp cake. It does have the roast pork. All have lots of other stuff as well as the pork broth.

Strangely I think the dish doesn't always mesh with what the menu says. I don't think the M1 mentions ground pork while the M2 does, but both of our dishes had it. Maybe they just noticed Dave's a big guy and threw some extra pork in for him. :angry:

I did notice the M3 doesn't list a shrimp cracker - who would not want that crispy bit of deliciousness?!

I too couldn't finish mine and got a take out container. It was just as delicious if not more so the following day. I think my only "complaint" is that I really love fish cakes and wish you got more than one bite of it. If I could, I would exchange my fish ball and squid for more fish cake. The menu is so extensive though it was hard to take it all in - there may actually be a dish that has more or is primarily fish cake.

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Just got back from another round. It's my mission to get as many arses into seats there as I can to get things rocking. Unfortunately aside from the 5 of us there were only 2 people there.

I talked to the waitress a bit and got the skinny. The only difference of m1 and m2 is the bbq, as stated above. m3 has no shrimp cracker but makes up for it with several fish balls and cakes, rather than the scant one of each you get in m1/2. Broth is identical in each of the three

Thanks for the tip on the grape leaves deangold. They were fantastic.

Lastly, my enterprising soup fearing comrade saw the potential for B6 combo vermimicelli and ran with it. He said it was on par with the vermicelli dishes at P1ho Hiep Hoa across University but better because the combo lets you get bits of 3 different things.

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Today I got two bun Mi from the grocery side but I think they came from the store. And an tray of shirmp wrapped in rice dumplings with a dipping sauce. The Bahn Mi were superb witht he right balance of sweet, sour, crunch, fat and gooey mayo spread. The bread wasn't as flakey as that of Saigonese but still very good. The filling was bbq pork, roast pork, pork sausage of a bologna style, jalap[eno slivers, cilantro and more. There were none out but the guy at the register called for two over the intercom and he went and got them for me in about 3 minutes. The shrimp dumplins were stick, sneaky hot and very good. The shrimp had a rub on them which added a smokey flavor. Never had anything quite like it before and it would be a welcome plate on any dim sum cart. $8 and I am in pain from all the food with a little tingle in my mouth and good flavors in my mouth.

Another win from Hong Phat/Song Phat/Mi Lay Cay etc.

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Just got back from another round. It's my mission to get as many arses into seats there as I can to get things rocking. Unfortunately aside from the 5 of us there were only 2 people there.

That's a worthy mission. The only time I've seen a crowd was on a Sunday, when there were lots of families. Otherwise, it's usually me and three or four people, max. There was a time when Nava Thai was like that, so let's just hope word of mouth brings people in. My first meal was two weeks ago....and I've been back four more times. My next try will be the pancake with pork and seafood....

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I don't know a lick of Vietnamese. With that in mind, I wonder why there's an inversion here:

HÆ°Æ¡ng Quế (Restaurant) and Sí´ng Quế (Grocery Store)

vs.

HÆ°ng Phí¡t (Grocery Store) and Sí´ng Phí¡t (Restaurant)

I guess HÆ°Æ¡ng and HÆ°ng aren't the same word, huh.

Cheers,
Rocks.

I think HÆ°Æ¡ng and HÆ°ng are the same word, they both mean district but I don't know when one is used vs the other. As for Sí´ng, I think it might mean river.
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I think Hương and Hưng are the same word, they both mean district but I don't know when one is used vs the other. As for Sông, I think it might mean river.

Hương means fragrant as in Sông Hương-fragant river. Hưng means favorable, raise, good in business sense. Sông means river while Song means 2 or twin as in Song Long means twin dragons. Phát means prosperity.

So Hưng Phát (Grocery Store) means good prosperity for the store and Song Phát means twin prosperity for the restaurant. Sông Phát is not the right name.

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I stopped by this moring in need of sustenence. An order of the Sping Rolls were quite fine, not Present fancy with that crackly battered crust, but more flavorful with a more rustic crunch. The dipping sauce was outstanding and the fried rolls totally grease free which may lend support tot he dispute above on the fried items which I dfounf wanting in the summer roll and the soup and someones else {someone elses?} found worthy. Perhaps the fryer {as a person or a piece of equipment} had an off day. In any case, I will try the summer roll on my next visit as a purely scientific inquiry on behalf of all of you interested parties {the things I do for you all!}. The soup which was M something or other was incredible. Egg noddle soup with a plate of grilled porkchop accompaniment. I do not know if I should have dipped the chop in the soupor not, but not being wither well informed or a racoon, I saw no reason to wash my food first. The grilled chop was mindbogglingly good and the soup, simplicity itself: just pork broth, dried shrimps, ground pork and a shred or two of iceberg lettuce juiced up with holy basil, hot sauce, a drop of hoisin, a cut of lime and several jalapeno slices. THis was thebest bowl of Asian soup I ahve had since the last bowl of clam & greens casserole at New Kam Fong!

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Sorry I missed you....I was there shortly after noon. I was pleased to see that there were five tables occupied when I got there, but only one other than me when I left. I had planned to have the seafood and pork pancake, but soup was calling me so I chose the curried chicken soup off the vermicelli menu. It was absolutely decadent (rich and thick) and delicious--reasonably spicy, but even better with a little hot sauce and a few jalepenos. It was the perfect bowl for my mood...a steal for just under seven bucks!

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It's called Mi La Cay now, although the sign for Song Phat is up as well, and the carryout menu says Song Phat in small letters with Mi La Cay in larger letters underneath.

Tim Carmen unravels the noodles.

[And yes, it's a stressful dilemma deciding either to close the Hong Phat thread and open a brand new Mi La Cay thread, or to leave the two combined. "New name, different ownership" usually warrants a separate thread, but since it was sold to family members, and has the same chef, it's less obvious what to do - for now, I'll leave them combined.]

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Another lunch at Mi La Cay....today I had their version of Pad Thai, which was unlike any I've had in other eateries. First of all, it was very spicy; not four alarm hot, but packing enough heat to keep the water refills coming. It came with shrimp, chicken, and fish cakes.....and the order was just huge. Everything worked except the chicken, which seemed out of place with the shrimp and fish cakes....so I found myself pushing the chicken chunks to the side. I can eat a lot of food in a sitting, but the pad thai defeated me. It was a fine version, maybe the second best I've had--I still believe that Nava Thai set the standard. That said, this version is so different from standard pad thai that it probably deserves its own category.

It keeps hitting me that we are leaving the area in a week. :angry: I would love have the time to work my way through this menu, but as they say, "so much food, so little time". But nonetheless, it's been an absolute delight to discover this place and explore the menu....

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That's a worthy mission. The only time I've seen a crowd was on a Sunday, when there were lots of families. Otherwise, it's usually me and three or four people, max. There was a time when Nava Thai was like that, so let's just hope word of mouth brings people in. My first meal was two weeks ago....and I've been back four more times. My next try will be the pancake with pork and seafood....

Had the pancake today. It was rather plain, the pancake stuffed with slice pork, shrimp, and sprouts. It certainly wasn't bad (nothing a couple of fiery peppers and pepper paste couldn't fix) but I found myself wishing I had gotten the soup. My dining companion had the rice combo with grape leaves and lemongrass chicken. I'd had the delicious grape leaves before and they were good again, but the chicken was a star.

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Had the pancake today. It was rather plain, the pancake stuffed with slice pork, shrimp, and sprouts. It certainly wasn't bad (nothing a couple of fiery peppers and pepper paste couldn't fix) but I found myself wishing I had gotten the soup.

Is what you ordered yellow in color (from tumeric)? If so it's banh xeo, and the key is to mash it up with some nuoc cham (the usual Vietnamese condiment sauce) and veggies. That's how it's usually eaten, and by itself can tend to be a little bland.

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Is what you ordered yellow in color (from tumeric)? If so it's banh xeo, and the key is to mash it up with some nuoc cham (the usual Vietnamese condiment sauce) and veggies. That's how it's usually eaten, and by itself can tend to be a little bland.

Indeed, that's what it's called. I knew I should have asked how to eat it. I did kind of mush stuff up and eat it as lettuce wraps--it was served with about 5 big leaves of lettuce, mint and shredded carrot.

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Is what you ordered yellow in color (from tumeric)? If so it's banh xeo, and the key is to mash it up with some nuoc cham (the usual Vietnamese condiment sauce) and veggies. That's how it's usually eaten, and by itself can tend to be a little bland.

The No Reservations episode last night was a revisit to Viet Nam, and banh xeo was featured. When we had the pancake at the restaurant, I hadn't realized there was coconut milk in the batter, but I did detect the flavor. Confirmed it when watching last night's episode.

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Ok, so nobody else is going to write about it, so I'll say a few words.

Appetizers:

1. Summer rolls - a very good rendition. Fresh, good balance, thin wrapper, but I'd love to have one of these some day where the shrimp has some flavor. The peanut/chili sauce was excellent.

2. Beef wrapped in grape leaves - loved this, especially with the pickled veggies on the plate.

Salad:

1. Chicken Salad - good, but really a lead in for

2. Spicy Papaya Salad - fabulous, and I don't usually care for papaya that much. The shrimp on top were overcooked and completely unnecessary.

Soup:

1.Vietnamese spicy hot and sour soup with shrimp - lot of depth of flavor for such a clear broth. I thought the green pieces were hot peppers - they were okra. Would have preferred peppers.

2. Roast Duck Home Style Egg Noodle - really loved this, but crispy skin on the duck would have taken it to another level.

Main courses:

1. Stir-fried lemon-grass chicken - a little different than the typical lemon grass dish I've had, but good.

2. French-styled beef cubes marinated in whiskey and peppers - actually a little strong on the whiskey, and they could have been closer to rare, but tasty.

3. Grilled beef, pork, and chicken - fantastic - dish of the evening. Won't be able to come back without ordering this.

4. Chicken fried rice with basil - I don't think we got this in the end.

5. Vietnamese Pancake - the first one was pretty good, but the second one they brought out was undercooked. Needs to have that crispy edge to make the difference.

6. Thai-styled stir-fried noodle - surprise! Pad Thai with chicken and shrimp. One of the better renditions I've had of this classic dish.

7. Banh Hoi Nem Nuong - I guess this was the dessert? I missed taking a picture. Nice end to the meal.

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Sounds like a great meal. How does this place compare to some of the Eden Center spots, like Huong Viet or Viet Bistro? Or even Minhs (I can't imagine the grilled pork was better than Minhs) or Four Sisters in Nova.

FYI...banh hoi nem nuong is grilled pork meatballs with steamed rice vermicelli patties.

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Sounds like a great meal. How does this place compare to some of the Eden Center spots, like Huong Viet or Viet Bistro? Or even Minhs (I can't imagine the grilled pork was better than Minhs) or Four Sisters in Nova.

I haven't gone extensively through Eden Center, but I think this was better than Four Sisters.

FYI...banh hoi nem nuong is grilled pork meatballs with steamed rice vermicelli patties.

I don't recall seeing that dish, so I guess there was a slight menu change from plan to execution.

Still a sh*t-ton of food for $20 inclusive.

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I really enjoyed the $20 Tuesday at Mi La Cay - it was so nice to get out of the city for a bit, and to stuff myself among friends (and for minimal cash). Special thanks to squidsdc and her hubby for schlepping me there and back in the crummy weather.

I couldn't eat a number of the dishes due to my peanut allergy (though bless eroica38's heart, he managed to snag me a plate or two sans nuts so that I could try more things), but here are my thoughts...

* Summer rolls - They may have been great with the sauce, but I thought they were pretty standard.

* Beef wrapped in grape leaves - Really delicious! Never really had anything like that before.

* Vietnamese spicy hot and sour soup with shrimp - Yum! Perfect for a cold, rainy night. The okra was a pleasant surprise (for me, anyway). I wasn't expecting a soup like that to be so complex, but it was very nicely done.

* Roast Duck Home Style Egg Noodle (soup) - The flavor was great, but I got a lot of bone and gristle in my portion of duck, so it was hard to eat.

* Stir-fried lemon-grass chicken - Very tasty.

* French-styled beef cubes marinated in whiskey and peppers - The beef at our end of the table was perfectly cooked, I thought, but I agree that it was heavy on the whiskey.

* Grilled beef, pork, and chicken - My absolute favorite, no question. If I hadn't been so stuffed, I would have gone back for thirds and fourths. So tender and flavorful!

* Vietnamese Pancake - Pretty good, but paled in comparison to some other dishes.

Seriously, I am still dreaming about that grilled meat. So good! Again, thanks to all who made this event possible - it was a fantastic evening with wonderful company, and I hope to come to more events during my future travels to DC!

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I think I concurr with much of above.

The beef grape leaves and grilled platter of meat are "must orders" next time. I enjoyed the duck soup, but thought the broth could have used a little more punch and the duck was a little boney. Was hoping for more out of the pancake dish. Otherwise I enjoyed the hot sour soup (very pleasing on a snowy night), the lemon grass chicken and the whiskey beef, all were good, but perhaps didn't quite make the "must order again" list

I kinda wish we had got to try the banh hoi nem nuong, sounds great!

Regardless $20 well spent!

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Location update--Mi La Cay has moved around the corner to 2409 University Boulevard. Larger space and much easier to find! For any long time locals, it is in the same shopping center where Barnaby's used to be in the old Lucia's space. Same shopping center as Wong Gee.

Still good; some reports I've heard it has even improved. As my limited diet doesn't allow me to sample much of the menu, I'll wait for someone else to try it and report. Though I did notice that Todd Kliman recently had it on his "where I'm eating" list.

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We ended up here for dinner last night after a planned trip to Ren's Ramen was thwarted by "technical problems" and a closed ramen shop. I've been battling a sore throat for a couple of days and hoped the P10 (spicy pho with well-done brisket and sliced flank steak, I think) would send it packing. It didn't, sadly, but it was a wonderfully hot soup with plenty of tasty beef and noodles. I kept sipping at the broth well after the other stuff was gone.

Mostly, I wanted to give Mi La Cay a shout out for being super accommodating about my peanut allergy. Not only did they take care to make sure I got nuoc mam instead of peanut sauce with my summer rolls (which were delightful), but our waiter came back by the table to warn me that Azami's order came with peanuts and was therefore unsafe for my consumption.

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^ they are always very helpful in navigating around my allergies!

Had never been, but on a tip from Todd Kliman's chat, went last night and ordered the M9, a beef with egg noodle soup.  Kliman describes the broth as having a "very complex, very rich flavor, with great controlled heat throughout, spicy without overwhelming your tongue." He thinks there's some crab or other seafood in it; I thought I detected blood -- but my waiter insisted that neither is in there:  only beef and "spices."  Whatever it is, it's fantastic, and leftovers were just as good for lunch today, too.  The chicken curry egg noodle is also excellent.  (Oh, and each is 8 or 9 bucks.)  Can't wait to return.  I'll make up for lost time by stopping by far more often now . . .

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