Review: Vietnamese Noodle House – Yellowknife, NWT
4609 50 Ave, Yellowknife – Facebook
Date of Visit: October, 2015
This is the oldest of Yellowknife’s two Vietnamese restaurants, and I recall it from a visit a good 5 or 6 years ago when I was staying in a hotel nearby. On this trip the territorial capital I stopped by for an early supper and had much the same sort of experience as my first; that is to say, a meal that was not bad, but not especially great either…
Ambience and Service
The restaurant interior is rather cafeteria-like, with plain furnishings and lots of Formica. The linoleum on the floor has clearly seen better days and the whole place has an air of rather grubby neglect. I was served by an Asian couple who I took to be married and, wile they were generally friendly and pleasant, their service was a bit haphazard. They were both attentive in short bursts but then had a tendency to ignore me for lengthy periods and I pointedly had to push empty dishes to the edge of the table in order to have them cleared.
The menu here is, as one would expect, heavy on noodle preparations. There are 10 ‘Chow Mein’ selections, 13 Vermicelli Bowls, and 10 Soup noodle dishes, most of which are clearly Pho variations, although not specifically named as such. There are also quite a few appetizers available, and, as I often prefer to do, I made a meal my sampling a series of these…
Sea Ghost Finger – This interestingly named specialty features ground shrimp wrapped on crab claw which is then lightly battered and deep-fried. It was a Snow cCab claw and the really sweet meat was in the shell itself. What I really liked about this dish was that the round shrimp and crab had a nice springy texture as well as being very tasty. There was no sauce provided on the side but I made do with just a drop or two of soy. This rather unique item rated a decent 4 out of 5.
Fresh Vietnamese Salad – This was described as being Shrimp and Pork with Fish Sauce. When I ordered it, the waitress warned me that it is not popular, which I took to mean with non-Vietnamese patrons. When it arrived, however, I didn’t find anything particularly alarming about it… It was a fairly typical salad consisting of lots of shredded carrot and onion topped with pork strips and medium sized shrimp. It was garnished with crushed peanuts and some cilantro and there was a fairly standard Nuoc Cham sauce on the side. It was, however, a very large salad and I had to leave some in fear of having no room for anything else. Unfortunately, this earned me a definite ‘I told you so’ look from my waitress when she cleared away what I left. In any event, the salad, while tasty was not especially outstanding and I gave it a 3 out of 5.
Beef Sate – This skewered beef selection was very moist and tender with nice char from grill. It was sweet but I couldn’t detect any dominant taste in the other than a bit of ginger. I liked the peanut garnish well-enough but, given the thinness of the beef slices it was a bit of textural overkill. Aside from that, I actually thought this one of the best beef sate appetizers I have had and I gave it a 5 out of 5.
Shrimp Skewers – These were well grilled, which can be difficult with shrimp of this size. They had nice shrimp taste but little else and the end result was bit mediocre. It rated just a 3 out of 5.
The food at this establishment was not especially fancy but it was generally well-prepared and tasty, not to mention very reasonably priced. However, where the operation falls down is in the rather dingy grubbiness of the dining room and very lackluster service. With a little work and attention to detail, this could be a very good restaurant indeed but, as is it can only rate a 3 out of 5.