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Steve, Dana, Danny and I met for lunch at Bambu this week.  I’ve been to Bambu at least once before but it has been a long time.  Bambu, located in the Fremont Shopping Center is one of only two Vietnamese restaurants in town that I’m aware of.

Steve ordered some appetizers to share – Crispy Egg Rolls ($4), Fresh Summer Rolls ($4) and the Chicken Cabbage Salad ($5).  The crispy rolls were served with a sweet sauce, the summer rolls with a peanut sauce and the salad was dressed with a light tangy sauce.  I think my favorite was probably the salad.  It had crispy cabbage and carrots and maybe some other types of veggies.  I didn’t know it at the time, but there was supposed to be chicken in it.  I really didn’t notice any though.  Steve said that he saw a few ragged strips. The dressing was nice and light – but I ended up spooning the peanut sauce from the summer rolls over the top – which I liked a lot better.

The crispy rolls were ok – nothing really special.  The summer rolls had lettuce, noodles, pork and shrimp inside wrapped in a translucent rice paper – I didn’t care too much for the texture of the wrapper and they really didn’t do a whole lot for me.  They did come with the yummy peanut sauce though.

The menu is broken into sections with each item getting its own letter/number code such as R# for rice platters (R1 = Lemongrass Chicken with Rice),  A# for appetizers, V# for vermicelli dishes, P# for the Pho or soup dishes – you get the picture. 

My lunch selection was the R1 or Lemongrass Chicken ($7.99) which the menu indicated was a house favorite.  This dish is offered in mild, medium and spicy.  I chose medium and thought it had just the right amount of heat.  I really liked this dish – the chicken was stir-fried and had a really good lemongrass flavor.  Don’t confuse this with a lemon flavor.  The lemongrass imparts a lemon-like flavor but it is more subtle and there is none of the acidity you get with lemon.  It was served with a mound of steamed rice and a small tasty salad of marinated carrots, cabbage and cucumber. 

I would definitely recommend this dish to anyone not wanting to get too adventuresome.

One of the more traditional Vietnamese dishes offered are the varieties of Pho.  Pho is a meat broth soup served in a massive bowl with meat and noodles, you get a side of bean sprouts, lime, basil, mint and fresh sliced jalapenos to dump in to ‘customize’.  There is also a variety of sauces available tableside to add as well.

Steve and Danny both ordered the P1 or Pho Deluxe ($8.50) and I swear spent at least 15 minutes in the customization phase adding this and that to their bowl to get it to taste just right (a little ridiculous if you ask me).  The Pho Deluxe is one of the more adventurous dishes as the meat items include beef, tripe, tendon and strange looking mystery meatballs.  I’m pretty sure that Steve and Danny usually get this dish – so I’m guessing that they must like it.

Dana’s selection was the R5 or Pineapple Chicken ($7.99).  I didn’t taste it but I’m pretty sure she liked it.

Our server today did a great job for us and my diet coke never went empty. 

The décor is a bit hard to describe and perhaps a little on the busy side.  It is clean and bright inside and there are touches of bamboo throughout.  The men’s room was clean.

I liked my meal today at Bambu.  Don’t be afraid of stepping out to try some Vietnamese food – there are some vary tasty and healthy selections to be had at Bambu. 

1338 E. Battlefield (Fremont Shopping Center) – 417-881-9881

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