After lil' sis's graduation, we toyed with various locations in San Diego for dinner, Chinese family-style or fancy steak house? As circumstances dictated, I alerted oldest nephew to a last-minute deal on JetBlue from Long Beach to Portland so he could come home for his brother's graduation, we ended up in Orange County for dinner. Since it was a special occasion, I suggested Brodard Chateau Vietnamese Cuisine. That was just as well since the number of people attending grew from our immediate family to more than a dozen people.
Brodard Chateau is from the same family as the original Brodard Restaurant - Garden Grove (Little Saigon), but fancier. The restaurant's facade is a Swiss? French? chateau-like building. According to The Orange County Register article I read in 2006, the 8,000-square foot chateau opened with 25 employees and operating costs of $100,000 a month. Pretty pricey by anyone's standards, but for a Vietnamese restaurant, unheard of. Was Little Saigon ready for an upscale Vietnamese restaurant?
I think the fact that it's still around four years later says so.
After dropping off oldest nephew at the airport, lil' sis and I met up with the rest of the caravan. Immediately upon entrance, was an extensive bar and curving staircase. We were seated right above on a rather walkway-like area. Not so great for such a huge group of people.
I really liked the artwork. Not so much the drunk and loud group of people sitting in front of it.
Order for us, says my mom.
It's a Vietnamese restaurant, you can order for yourself, I told her.
She gave me the "why are you being so difficult" look. Huh?
Because of the extensive bar, I ordered a Vietnamese mojito, fresh lime juice, mint, 10 Cane Rum, and club soda, $7.95. It was good, but tasted like a regular mojito, nothing Vietnamese about it. Hmph! I felt a little suckered.
Everyone else ordered soda chanh (Vietnamese limeade), $3.75.
Brodard Chateau has almost? all? of the menu items from Brodard Restaurant with a few more upscale dishes as well. So I ordered doubles of my favorites from the restaurant. Banh Khot (Vietnamese Lunar Cakes), $7.95.
Banh tom co ngu (Vietnamese sweet potato and shrimp fritters), $7.95. Pot of tea, $2.95.
Nem nuong cuon (Vietnamese grilled pork patty rolls), $4.25, and chao tom (Vietnamese sugarcane shrimp rolls), $5.25. The plate below was one or the other, they look pretty similar once wrapped in rice paper. And their famous dipping sauce. The big difference between the chateau and the restaurant? Price. The plate below was actually TWO orders. So you get one less roll for the same price.
Bo luc lac (Vietnamese shaking beef), $12.95. This was the favorite of the night. There was a special sauce to the beef and it was incredibly tender. Good thing I ordered two plates.
Lil' sis ordered Chilean sea bass in black bean sauce $22.95. Good but small fillet and too pricey.
One of the unusual items, and I'm totally going to steal this for a future recipe, was soft shell crab rice paper rolls, $9.95. Pretty pricey for two rolls, but they were pretty darn good.
Prawn garlic noodles $17.95. A little pricey, yeah? Sorry, I keep harping on price. I know we're paying more for ambiance, and they have those huge operating expenses, but when it comes to Vietnamese food, I know I can make it for way less.
My dad's friend ordered cha ca Thang Long (Vietnamese Hanoi-style turmeric and dill fish), $14.95. I told him the owners were from Nha Trang so we shouldn't order Northern dishes, but he wanted to see how it was prepared here. Huh! Then what was the point of insisting I order because they didn't know what was good at the restaurant if they were going to order anyway? *Grumble. Grumble.* Anyway, the cha ca Thang Long was good, if prepared unlike the original Cha Ca La Vong in Hanoi version, but standard Vietnamese-American version on a fajita plate with all the usual sides of noodles, mam ruoc (Vietnamese fermented shrimp paste), peanuts, and toasted rice paper.
Another favorite was seafood in XO sauce, $15.95. Yummy XO sauce. We ordered a second plate.
My mom suggested ordering two plates of calamari, $9.95, to finish off the meal. This was the worst dish of the night. Just look at it. Barely breaded or battered. I would've preferred Italian or Chinese calamari. This was just bad. Chewy, deep-fried squid.
In the end, nice ambiance to experience for a special occasion, but I'd just go to the original Brodard Restaurant for my favorite dishes at a cheaper price.
Afterward, my parents said they liked the older '88's graduation dinner the night before at Seol Ak San - Stanton more. Different flavors, but still yummy and a better value, my mom said.
"Are you going to talk about the proudest day of your life," lil' sis asked me?
Silly lil' sis. That would be my college graduation.
Happy graduation sweetie! I am so proud of you. And always so glad that you're my little sister.
The happiest day of my life was when I met my new baby sister. I even have the diary entry to prove it. :)
Now, go read the lil' sis category so you can stop nagging me to blog about you again. :P
A few other Little Saigon restaurants:
Binh Dan Restaurant (De 7 Mon (Vietnamese Goat in 7 Courses)) - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Brodard Restaurant - Garden Grove (Little Saigon)
Da Nang Com Tam Tran Quy Cap - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Ngu Binh Restaurant - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Pho Thang Long Restaurant - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Quan Hy Vietnamese Restaurant - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Quan Vy Da Restaurant - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Regent West Restaurant (Wedding Banquet) - Santa Ana (Little Saigon)
Rockin' Crawfish - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Saigon Bistro - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Vien Dong Restaurant - Garden Grove (Little Saigon)
Brodard Chateau Vietnamese Cuisine
9100 Trask Ave.
Garden Grove, CA 92844
Monday to Thursday 10:30 A.M. to 9 P.M.
Friday to Sunday 10:30 A.M. to 9:30 P.M.
1 year ago today, Mister Lincoln Rose.
2 years ago today, Lomo Saltado/Thit Bo Xao voi Khoai Tay Chien (Peruvian/Vietnamese Stir-Fry with French Fries).
3 years ago today, nem nuong cuon (Vietnamese grilled pork patty rolls) and the best dipping sauce in town at Brodard Restaurant - Garden Grove (Little Saigon).