Sunday, March 28, 2010

Crepes and Nem Nuong Behind the 99 Cent Store - Brodard Garden Grove

Hidden off an alley behind a Garden Grove 99 Cent store, Brodard Restaurant is a Vietnamese restaurant which is home to some wonderful seasoned pork and crispy crepes. While it's hard to find, Brodard is no hole in the wall. It features an almost trendy looking dining room featuring large wall murals, including one of stampeding mustangs, and numerous decorative wall hangings.

Nem nuong, Vietnamese pork sausage patties, are the specialty of the house, and indeed, the awning outside the restaurant says only "Nem Nuong," with the word Brodard listed in small print on the door. Nearly everyone at the restaurant will have a plate of nem nuong cuon, a serving of nem nuong in the traditional Vietnamese rice paper spring rolls. The filling includes a big strip of the tasty pork sausage along with regular accompaniments carrot, daikon, cucumber, lettuce, mint and unidentified crispy bits(fried rice paper perhaps). You can see why this is a popular dish. The pork sausage is juicy and succulent, and the stretchy rice paper and herbs are given perfect texture by the addition of those crunchy bits.

The most perfect dish at Brodard though was the banh khot - luna rice cake (pictured at right), a rice flour crepe filled with shrimp and scallions. The crepe is crispy, slightly chewy and oh, so buttery. Paired with the shrimp, wrapped in lettuce and dipped in fish sauce, it is beyond any other Vietnamese crepe I have had, a taste and textural wonder. I could have easily eaten a whole second order and now long to try their other crepe dishes (banh xeo).

Bun cha Hanoi is bun (vermicelli) accompanied by greasy bowl of nem nuong and thick-cut bacon in the regular sweet lime and chili sauce. It's delicious but can be a bit overwhelming in the grease department.

Not everything at Brodard is spot on. The goi du du bo kho, gan chay, shredded green papaya topped with beef jerky and pork liver is a bit bland, though the beef is good. The egg rolls (cha gio) commit the cardinal sin of being made with flour-based egg roll wrappers instead of rice paper; like a devastating fall in Olympic figure skating, there is simply no recovering from it, no matter how artful the rest of the program. But the truth is, there are a number of venues with excellent cha gio, while the quality of banh khot and nem nuong at Brodard are hard to match.

Brodard Restaurant
9892 Westminster Ave.
Garden Grove, CA 92844
(714) 530-1744


Banana Wonder said...

wow you're a brodard review reviewing something other than spring rolls =) I got here lots so next time it will be the shrimp crepes! Thanks for the hot tip.

SinoSoul said...

aight Sku. I'm out of town for less than a week and freaking PICTURES on the blog? If someone slashes his wrist tonight, it's all your fault.

sku said...

Yes SinoSoul, I know it's hard to believe, but I have an actual picture of food on my blog. Keep in mind though, the picture is of a half eaten dish which includes a big grease spot. Not exactly the kind of food porn you'd find on, say, The Delicious Life.