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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Wed–Mon 10:00am–9:30pm

Features Veg-friendly
Bar Beer, BYO
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Accepted

Far North Austin
8557 Research Blvd.
Austin, TX
(512) 339-7860
When you’re weary of pho and banh mi, this is the best Vietnamese dining in town

While other places rack up Tweets and blog posts about having the best noodle soup or banh mi sandwiches in town, Sunflower moseys along, serving terrific hot pots, seafood crêpes, whole steamed fish, and terrific vermicelli bowls and rice plates—the stuff most people know as “the not-pho part of the pho menu.”

Where to begin with the recommendations? Everything is good. A seafood crêpe is a great starter for two to four people, and is like a more delicate omelette, loaded with scallops, squid, and shrimp. As with everything, load it up with the mint, cilantro, and nuoc man that comes with it. Cabbage-heavy salads are interesting—like Vietnamese slaw—with juicy shrimp, fatty roast pork, and wonderfully cartilaginous jellyfish. One of our top dishes here, bo luc lac (“shaken beef”) is cubes of grilled, tender, wine-marinated beef with onions, tomatoes, and salt-and-pepper seasoning; and just about the finest fish dish in town is this buttery fillet of steamed California sea bass, covered in a soy, miso, and ginger sauce with scallions.

The longtime staff is polite and welcoming, and the inside is as hokey-elegant as a strip-mall suite can get, with abundant mirrors and bright overhead lighting. If it looks cheap, well, good news: it is.

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