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Fearless Critic restaurant review
San Antonio
Food
Feel
Price
6.5
6.5
$20
Vietnamese, Thai
Casual restaurant

Hours
Daily 11:00am–9:30pm

Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted

Uptown Central
3244 Broadway St.
San Antonio, TX
(210) 822-7461
Viet Nam Restaurant
The city’s original Vietnamese restaurant has settled into somnolent middle age

Viet Nam Restaurant, originally called Crab 7 Ways, was most San Antonians’ introduction to Vietnamese cuisine. It appeared in the mid-seventies and, under its imperturbable hostess, Snow Eisenhower, seemed tantalizingly foreign. Under the present owners, neither the name, the setting, nor the cuisine hints at anything remotely exotic; the place has settled into a frumpy middle age.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons to revisit. “Specializing in crab dishes” still says the menu, and though their number and ambition have diminished, the “Combination Plate” with stir fried crab, noodles, and a “spicy” chicken salad is a reminder of past glory. Crab claws are available by the half-pound. And there’s a relentlessly straightforward crab “omlet,” served—as are many dishes such as the meaty spring rolls—with crisp leaves of iceberg lettuce. Make liberal use of the chopped jalapeño condiment on the table with both the aforementioned omlet and the crackling banh xeo “crepes” folded over generous fillings of bean sprouts, pork, and shrimp, but desperately seeking seasoning to make it all sing.

One panelist who frequents the place for its pricing (no dish is over $10), admits to straying to the Thai side of the menu, and claims the yum nua beef salad as a special favorite.

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