Mad-town Chow Down
    
Avatar
#1
Posted November 1st 2011, 10:18pm
Upon finding that Pho Xua had closed, I walked past Viet Nam, saw the "Grand Opening, Oct 22" sign hanging down across the window and figured I'd give it a shot.

The waiter was extremely friendly, though he seemed confused when I asked what their specialties were. I'm not sure if it was a language barrier, or he just didn't understand the question, but I was left to pick somewhat randomly from the menu.

The Bun Bo Hue was pretty disappointing - too much shrimp paste, not enough beefy flavor, not quite spicy enough, no coagulated blood, and only one slice of pork loaf (plenty of brisket and knuckle though). The banh mi was pretty good - roast pork, pork loaf, and nice fresh bread from Viet Hoa (he went to purchase it when I ordered). I had the pick-3 rice plate combination, with stuffed tofu, braised fish of some sort, and braised pork with picked mustard greens. The stuffed tofu was ok, and the fish was decent, but the braised pork and pickled mustard greens really shined.

Overall, the service was super friendly, and I feel like the place has promise. The owner came over to check in multiple times, refreshed us with hot tea, and genuinely seemed to care. I'd like to go back and explore more of the (expansive) menu and see if there are some gems. We were the only patrons there, so I assume my entree was all reheated portions - never a great situation, but at least with the braised pork, didn't seem to harm the dish.

Nha Hang Viet Nam
1032 W Argyle St
Chicago, IL 60640

Image

-Dan

(edited to add photo)
(edited to change the thread name - thanks m'th'su)
Last edited by dansch on November 2nd 2011, 9:53am, edited 1 time in total.
Avatar
#2
Posted November 2nd 2011, 7:27am
I believe it's called Nha Hang Viet Nam
_______________________________________

Avatar
#3
Posted December 3rd 2011, 12:58pm
Thank you LTH for again providing folks like Laikom, Turkob and Co. the venue to document such noble endeavors.

A friend and I went to Nha Hang yesterday on their recommendation. We were blown away. It was the best Vietnamese either of us have ever had...and though I haven't been to Vietnam, I lived in the heart of Boston's Vietnamese neighborhood for 3 years.

We supplemented our pho with, fried chicken w/fish sauce and a steamed rice plate with choice of three meat toppings (shrimp, pork rib, beltfish). The wings were like nothing we've had before, and would definitely order again. The rice plate came with a side of chicken broth that was paradoxically clean and rich. The shell-on shrimp in house made fish sauce was one of the best things I've eaten this year.

Laikom's description of the pho was spot-on, and I am now in the "richer" pho camp. Also, as previously mentioned, the friendliest service that can be found. I will be back again and again and again.
_______________________________________

"We eat slowly and with gusto." - Paul Bäumer in AQOTWF
Avatar
#4
Posted December 5th 2011, 5:35pm
Sweetbread wrote:Thank you LTH for again providing folks like Laikom, Turkob and Co. the venue to document such noble endeavors.

A friend and I went to Nha Hang yesterday on their recommendation. We were blown away. It was the best Vietnamese either of us have ever had...and though I haven't been to Vietnam, I lived in the heart of Boston's Vietnamese neighborhood for 3 years.

We supplemented our pho with, fried chicken w/fish sauce and a steamed rice plate with choice of three meat toppings (shrimp, pork rib, beltfish). The wings were like nothing we've had before, and would definitely order again. The rice plate came with a side of chicken broth that was paradoxically clean and rich. The shell-on shrimp in house made fish sauce was one of the best things I've eaten this year.

Laikom's description of the pho was spot-on, and I am now in the "richer" pho camp. Also, as previously mentioned, the friendliest service that can be found. I will be back again and again and again.


Sweetbread. Thanks for the kudos on our "adventure"! It was really fun, and I'm quite happy that in your eyes Nha Hang lived up to our praise! It was one of those places which, by appearance, looked as though it could go either way. Your report on it gives me more hope that there are, as I would have guessed, more great items on the menu, in addition to the 2 soups I had the opportunity to try. I'm very much looking forward to a return visit. With the upcoming holidays I'm going to be pretty busy, but there has been some talk of setting up an event on the events board. If you'd like, I'll be sure to PM you before I post anything on it.

If you're reading about nha hang for the first time, here is the link to the pho crawl in which (if we were taking score) nha hang would have scored amongst the top 2 for me, if not the highest.
Avatar
#5
Posted December 11th 2011, 1:20pm
I went back last night with a larger group for more ordering power. I don't have much time for detail at the moment, but I must mention these two must-haves:

1) Woven Rice Cake with Pork (I think #26). You dip the hard paper-thin cake in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds, and then fill it with the pork and condiments(basil, mint, cilantro). Many are probably familiar with this fun way of do-it-yourself assembly, but this version was new to me. More importantly it was very delicious!

2) Pork and Catfish in a Clay Pot (#166) Wow, just wow. The pork ended up being pork belly which ends up saturating the catfish, and creates a silky sauce which can be poured over the rice and condiments that accompany it. If you plan on going to Nha Hang anytime soon (and I know some are), write the number "166" on your hand right now, and don't wash it until you eat this dish.
_______________________________________

"We eat slowly and with gusto." - Paul Bäumer in AQOTWF
Avatar
#6
Posted December 11th 2011, 8:33pm
Thanks for finding this place. Nothing wrong with Tank, but I'm really looking forward to exploring a new menu.

For those who enjoy the sour fish soup canh chua ca, the version here is quite good. (It is often eaten with the braised dish Sweetbread recommended above, as the caramel sauce balances the soup's sourness.) Good ingredients, put together with care. A "small" easily fed two.
Avatar

Lead Moderator
#7
Posted December 13th 2011, 11:54pm
As is mentioned in this thread, Nha Hang Viet Nam is byo.

=R=
_______________________________________

“I firmly believe that if you love restaurants for the right reasons, they will love you back.” --Steven Shaw (RIP)

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
Avatar
#8
Posted December 15th 2011, 1:52am
I got home a few hours ago from a great LTH event dinner out to Nha Hang. Thanks to everyone who showed up, as always it was a great time!

I may need a day to process all that just went on, but I’m pretty sure that my reaction is going to be an astounding (as sweetbread had said) WOW, just WOW. So many things about this dinner were truly amazing. Suffice it to say that prior to the aforementioned Pho crawl, I was not a huge fan of Vietnamese food in general. Nothing BAD per se, just nothing ever really shinned. My main objective on the crawl was not simply to find the best pho, but secretly it was to try to prove to myself that there is such a thing as Great Vietnamese food, merely using pho as a basis of measure. Until tonight I had almost resigned myself to the misconception that Vietnamese food was edible but generally bland.

On our maiden voyage to Nha Hang, we only had time to try the Pho and Bun Mam, after all we were on a 13 restaurant mission. Yes… those 2 dishes were awesome, and this restaurant alone really sealed the deal that Bun Mam can be one amazing dish. Considering that, I was still a bit skeptic that the rest of the menu would stand up to that. Even after sweetbread and cilantro posted glowing reviews I was more optimistic, but I have to admit that I maintained a bit of skepticism. I had never had a Vietnamese meal that sold me on the cuisine as a whole. After tonight, I am a changed man. Vietnamese now ranks amongst my favorite cuisines, thanks to Nha Hang.

We had a number of dishes, without a miss in the bunch.

After the first couple bites of the Bun Mam tonight I proclaimed, “maybe I’m just a bit excited at the moment, but this is clearly my favorite soup in Chicago”.

Soon after that we were served up the sour fish soup (thanks cilantro), which topped even the Bun Mam. I now have 2 favorite soups in Chicago! I believe we ordered the “sour fish soup” and the server recommended that we get it “thai style”. Not sure what that means (or if it was different than the one cilantro ordered) but, perhaps reluctantly, we agreed. It was a pungent, sour, fishy, lemon grassy, and rich with umami. It did not disappoint! It was served bubbling on propane burner with white fish, fish balls, pork, tripe, veggies, and raw shrimp and beef on the side. It was also served with a fermented tofu sauce which resembled the Chinese preserved tofu, but the pickle was more of a vinegar, and less of a rice wine. All in all it was one of the best things I’ve eaten in quite a while.

The pork and catfish in clay pot (166) was every bit as good as sweetbread said, and more. What a rich, fatty and just-sweet-enough dish to balance the other flavors of the meal. It was served with a nicely pungent side of pickled greens (i think napa cabbage, but could be wrong). It was strongly pungent, not like the mock-kimchi I'm used to getting at Chinese restaurants.

A couple of things which we ordered which have not been mentioned yet which were great were the fried frog legs, and the whole fried red snapper (thanks evelyn for demanding something fried). Both were perfectly cooked, served piping hot with moist flavorful meat. The snapper with its delicate flavor seemed amazingly light and healthy for being fried. The frog legs were some of the meatiest, juiciest, and most flavorful I’ve had.

I'd also like to mention that the pho was not only the best I've had, but may also be the best value. It is served with a ridiculous amount of meat. We ordered 3 bowls to divide between 14 people, and for what it's worth, there was leftover meat in the bottom of each bowl after everyone was served. This is the quite the opposite of what I've observed at other pho establishments. Each of us feigning politeness, but rushing for the good pieces of meat, tendon, tripe, etc in the bowl (or maybe that's just me :twisted: ).

We also had a rare tender beef salad, and a duck salad, both served with shrimp crackers, and both of which I enjoyed very much. I can see how some may think the duck was a bit bland, but in a meal this rich, it's quite a refreshing dish. Both definitely served the purpose of a refreshing salad. The meat in both was flavorful and moist.

I know I left out a few dishes, but I'm sure someone will post on them! :)

I only took a few pics, as Ronnie_S was snapping most of them. Here are a couple dishes that he may not have gotten.

Catfish and pork in clay pot (with side of pickled greens)
Image

Image

Duck Salad with shrimp crackers.
Image

Image

I’d wager that this place will have many more surprises on the menu, and am VERY MUCH looking forward to a return visit soon!

I also realize that the operating hours of this place are not posted anywhere online. I'm not sure what time they open, or if they take any day off, but last I was told they're open until 10pm daily.
Avatar

Site Admin
#9
Posted December 15th 2011, 7:54am
laikom, I agree with your completely. I really enjoyed our meal last night and can safely say that this dinner was among the best Vietnamese food I have ever had in Chicago. I'm sure others will have lots to say about the various soups we had, but I want to give a shout out to the simple shrimp crackers on the two salads you mentioned. I'm not sure if these crackers were made in house or not, but they were remarkably better than the normal styrofoam-like, multi-colored ones served elsewhere. As you can see from laikom's picture, they were much larger, but that's not the only difference. They had a much fuller flavor than any other shrimp cracker I have ever tasted. They had structural integrity, too and maintained their crunch even when soaked with the delicious dressing from the salads.

Good call on Nha Hang. This is a storefront I probably never would have visited if it weren't for the intrepid efforts of those on the Pho crawl.
_______________________________________

Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
Avatar

#10
Posted December 15th 2011, 11:09am
stevez wrote: I want to give a shout out to the simple shrimp crackers on the two salads you mentioned. I'm not sure if these crackers were made in house or not, but they were remarkably better than the normal styrofoam-like, multi-colored ones served elsewhere. As you can see from laikom's picture, they were much larger, but that's not the only difference. They had a much fuller flavor than any other shrimp cracker I have ever tasted. They had structural integrity, too and maintained their crunch even when soaked with the delicious dressing from the salads.


I'm still mulling over this amazing meal, but this was one of the small details that blew me away also. I too, always think these crackers taste like styrofoam and actually took a small corner of one with my salad. After one bite I had BR pass two more down to me. turkob and laikom, without your hard work, I too might have never tried this gem, thank you.
_______________________________________

For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
Avatar

GNR Sultan
#11
Posted December 17th 2011, 12:50pm
Count me amongst the many voices praising the new-kind-on-the-block. Almost everything I've had there has been excellent, but I'd like to highlight the grilled pork over vermicelli as a stand out dish. The pork is fatty without being chewy or gristly and features a distinct char that amps up the meatiness. Also, I'd like to mention that I noticed a focus more on balancing the funky umami flavors with the sweet. So many Vietnamese restaurants serve us cloyingly sweet sauces, whereas Nha Hang didn't shy away from the fish sauce (or fermented tofu) that reined in the sweetness and underscored the well prepared meats.

I've only been twice now, but it's a place I'm excited to try again soon.
Avatar
#12
Posted December 17th 2011, 3:20pm
Thanks to LTH for this tip. Paid a visit last night and enjoyed a great bowl of pho and half a banh mi. Service was as friendly as previously described. I need to go back with a larger group and sample more of the menu.

It had been a while since I'd been to Argyle, but the whole strip looked positively deserted at 7:30 on a Friday.
_______________________________________

Avatar

Lead Moderator
#13
Posted December 17th 2011, 4:56pm
ndgbucktown wrote:Thanks to LTH for this tip. Paid a visit last night and enjoyed a great bowl of pho and half a banh mi. Service was as friendly as previously described. I need to go back with a larger group and sample more of the menu.

It had been a while since I'd been to Argyle, but the whole strip looked positively deserted at 7:30 on a Friday.

The meal we had here last week was very enjoyable and I will be posting some additional thoughts and pics here asap. In fact, I liked it so much, I happily agreed to return there with another group last night. Unfortunately, it was too close to closing time (we arrived at about 9:45) and we were told that the kitchen was closed. We called an audible and ended up at Tank, where we had one of the crappiest meals I've had all year. :(

=R=
_______________________________________

“I firmly believe that if you love restaurants for the right reasons, they will love you back.” --Steven Shaw (RIP)

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
Avatar
#14
Posted December 18th 2011, 9:17am
ndgbucktown wrote:Thanks to LTH for this tip. Paid a visit last night and enjoyed a great bowl of pho and half a banh mi. Service was as friendly as previously described. I need to go back with a larger group and sample more of the menu.

It had been a while since I'd been to Argyle, but the whole strip looked positively deserted at 7:30 on a Friday.



I live a block and a half north of this place and outside Tank which somewhat inexplicably is always jammed, Argyle in general has been on rough times, just about every place is consistently dead...pretty sure there was a thread not too long ago on the decline of Argyle.

As for Nha Hang, I too need to visit with a larger group to make more of a dent in the menu and a huge cosign on the great service mentioned above, really nice folks.
Avatar

Lead Moderator
#15
Posted December 18th 2011, 9:02pm
Our dinner here last Wednesday night stands out for me as being some of the best Vietnamese food I can remember having in Chicago. As turkob posted above, unlike at so many other Vietnamese places in town, at Nha Hang, the sweetness was balanced nicely by a lot of funk, which I'm not used to when it comes to Vietnamese. Being no expert, I cannot speak to authenticity but while eating this meal, the food made sense to me. It wasn't course after course of overly sweet, unbalanced dishes. Instead, tasty, fresh ingredients were combined in distinctive, complexly-flavored preparations that still allowed the individual components to shine.

Image
Nha Hang Viet Nam - 1032 W Argyle


Image
Rare Beef Salad
As others have posted above, the shrimp crackers here were great but they were just one highlight in a very nicely composed salad.


Image
Cold Duck Salad
More or less identical to the salad above but with cooked duck, which I didn't think worked as well as the rare (aka nearly raw) beef. Still, quite tasty.


Image
Wings
I liked these wings because the meat was moist and the sauce was funky and fairly fiery. There are 2 wing dishes on the menu that have identical descriptions, so I'm not sure if these are #29 or #30. In either case, they're described as "deep fried chicken wings marinated with fish sauce."


Image
Grilled Pork, other ingredients for Rice Paper Rolls
This was one of my favorites of the night. I thought the pork was cooked perfectly and with petite_gourmande's assistance, I was able to successfully negoatiate the rice paper wrappers, which I hadn't done in years. I think I made 3 of these.


Image
Pho
Again, I'm no expert and honestly, I've never been a huge fan of pho because I'm not crazy about the spice set. Still, this version was beefy and aromatic, and it was generously stocked with all sorts of goodies. I'm not sure from looking at the menu which Pho this was, because it incorporated ingredients from several of the versions described on the menu.


Image
Individual Portion of Pho pictured above
If I remember correctly, this bowl included beef, beef ball, tendon, tripe and noodles, among other ingredients.


Image
Bun Mam
I really loved this steamed rice noodle soup and thought it was fantastic, with a rich, spicy and funky (from fish sauce) depth of flavor that compelled. I remember there being shrimp, squid, pork belly and eggplant in this. I'm not sure I agree with laikom's statement above that it's the best soup in Chicago (I reserve that honor for the Beef Ball and Beef Tender Tom Yum at Aroy Thai) but thought this was a great bowl.


Image
Whole, Fried Red Snapper
Nicely crispy on the outside and moist within, this deep-fried snapper was served with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and fish sauce, the latter of which really brought home the funk.


Image
Turkob enjoys the red snapper 'carcass'


Image
Frog Legs
Pretty sure this is #183, which is described on the menu as "deep fried garlic butter frog legs with ginger, pepper and onions." They were crispy, tender, moist and delicious.


Image
Claypot of Catfish and Pork Belly, aka Ca & Thit Heo Kho To, #166
Red pepper, black pepper, green onions and again, the delightful funk of special fish sauce. I've had this dish at other Vietnamese places and liked this version better than any previous ones.


Image
Pickles for Claypot Dish


Image
Grilled Pork with Vegetables over Noodles
Could this be #92, Bun Heo Nuong, which is described on the menu as "steamed rice noodle with grilled pork"? In any case, the pork was nicely grilled, tender and pleasantly sweet.


Image
Unknown Loaf
I'm not sure what this dish was and I didn't get to try it, so hopefully someone else can fill in the blanks.


Image
Ingredients for Hot Pot
Beef, shrimp, fish balls, etc.


Image
Ingredients for Hot Pot
Choy sum, bok choy, bean curd skin, etc.


Image
petite_gourmande, on the right, skillfully tends to the hot pot


Image
Hot Pot in motion
From reading the menu, it's unclear to me which hot pot this is because it incorporates ingredients from a few different descriptions. In any case, it was fantastic because the broth was so flavorful and the ingredients were exceptional, especially the beef, shrimp and fish balls, the latter of which were spectacular after they took on the broth while cooking. And the fermented tofu (in a small bowl shown at the bottom of the screen in the shot above this one) was a spectacular condiment that took this already fantastic hot pot to an even higher level.

There was also a durian-based smoothie-type dessert served that I forgot to snap a picture of. I'd be lying if I said I even remotely enjoyed it! :wink:


Image
Our group
14 very happy diners.

I tried to go back to Nha Hang 2 days later but got there too late (9:45 pm) and was told they were closing. But, after this first meal, I was (and am) excited to return. I have to thank laikom for putting this event together because it was great to explore so much of the menu. But also, I think part of the success of this meal is largely attributable to petite_gourmande's presence. She's from Vietnam and was able to communicate directly with the staff, which I think had no small bearing on the outcome of our meal. I hope I can remember enough from this meal, the details posted on this thread and future experiences at Nha Hang to return and put together successful orders in the future...even if she's not around. :wink:

=R=
_______________________________________

“I firmly believe that if you love restaurants for the right reasons, they will love you back.” --Steven Shaw (RIP)

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
Avatar
#16
Posted December 23rd 2011, 2:36pm
ronnie_suburban wrote:Image
Wings
I liked these wings because the meat was moist and the sauce was funky and fairly fiery. There are 2 wing dishes on the menu that have identical descriptions, so I'm not sure if these are #29 or #30. In either case, they're described as "deep fried chicken wings marinated with fish sauce."

Image
Bun Mam
I really loved this steamed rice noodle soup and thought it was fantastic, with a rich, spicy and funky (from fish sauce) depth of flavor that compelled. I remember there being shrimp, squid, pork belly and eggplant in this. I'm not sure I agree with laikom's statement above that it's the best soup in Chicago (I reserve that honor for the Beef Ball and Beef Tender Tom Yum at Aroy Thai) but thought this was a great bowl.
Stopped in for a quick lunch today featuring the two dishes above. Based on the praise here, my excitement level was relatively high, but having just spent a couple weeks in Vietnam, my expectations were also in check. I was happy with my meal and am looking forward to going back to try more of the menu. The wings were outstanding. In addition to the salty/sour tang, they had a sweet pineapple note to go along with greater than expected chile heat. As Ronnie mentions, there are two dishes with the translated name "deep fried chicken wings marinated with fish sauce." I believe I had #29. It was whichever one has the words "nuoc mam" in the Vietnamese name of the dish. The bun mam was just alright. It suffered from overcooked noodles and a relative dearth of proteins. I counted two small shrimp and two or three small pieces of squid. There were a few pieces of some nice salt fish, which I liked a lot, but the preserved fish flavor was more or less missing in the broth. It may not be a fair comparison, but this soup was a far cry from my last bowl of bun.
Avatar
#17
Posted December 23rd 2011, 3:05pm
kl1191 wrote: It may not be a fair comparison, but this soup was a far cry from my last bowl of bun.


That bowl looks ridiculously thick and amazing!
Avatar

Lead Moderator
#18
Posted December 23rd 2011, 5:28pm
laikom wrote:
kl1191 wrote: It may not be a fair comparison, but this soup was a far cry from my last bowl of bun.


That bowl looks ridiculously thick and amazing!

Newsflash! Vietnamese food is better in Vietnam than it is in Chicago! :D

In all seriousness, the bowl in kl's link looks astonishing. I loved the bowl of bun mam at Nha Hang and thought it was pretty darned funky. I wonder if it just felt that way after the bowl of mellow and mildly-sweet pho. Additional research may be required. :wink:

=R=
_______________________________________

“I firmly believe that if you love restaurants for the right reasons, they will love you back.” --Steven Shaw (RIP)

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
Avatar
#19
Posted December 23rd 2011, 5:45pm
ronnie_suburban wrote:Newsflash! Vietnamese food is better in Vietnam than it is in Chicago! :D
I deserved that...

ronnie_suburban wrote:Additional research may be required. :wink:
This thread has motivated me to write up my recent adventures in the various applicable threads in Beyond Chicagoland. It may take a couple days to finish, but it's that or spend time with my in-laws. (I kid...I kid...)
Avatar

Lead Moderator
#20
Posted December 23rd 2011, 5:50pm
kl1191 wrote:
ronnie_suburban wrote:Newsflash! Vietnamese food is better in Vietnam than it is in Chicago! :D
I deserved that...

ronnie_suburban wrote:Additional research may be required. :wink:
This thread has motivated me to write up my recent adventures in the various applicable threads in Beyond Chicagoland. It may take a couple days to finish, but it's that or spend time with my in-laws. (I kid...I kid...)

LOL...you made it entirely clear that the comparison might not be a fair one. I just couldn't help myself.

I look forward to reading the account of your trip.

=R=
_______________________________________

“I firmly believe that if you love restaurants for the right reasons, they will love you back.” --Steven Shaw (RIP)

I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

Twitter: ronniesuburban
Avatar
#21
Posted February 14th 2012, 3:32am
I’m about to visit Vietnam for the first time next week! In order to prep for the trip I decided to make another trip to Nha Hang. Boy, am I glad I did. After 4 trips I’ve learned that it’s definitely not the kind of restaurant with a standard set of favorites, rather the type of place where exploring the extensive menu proves to be very rewarding. With no plan in mind, we asked for a few recommendations.

We were offered a new noodle dish, which ended up being the reportedly elusive Mi Quang, a tumeric noodle dish from Quang Nam. It was really rich and savory, screaming “home cooking”, a touch of lemongrass and some spice from fresh peppers. Evocations of “Home cooking” seem to be a constant at this place. The noodles were really the highlight of the dish, flavorful, firm and chewy. I apologize that I forgot my camera and didn’t get any pictures of this on my phone worth posting.

We then decided to get a hot pot, as the previous ones we’ve ordered ended up being AWESOME. With no hesitations, we quickly decided on the maybe even more elusive Lau De, a goat and lotus root hot pot. As seems to be standard with Vietnamese hot pots, I think small really means small army. They are HUGE. The only other reports of Lau De on LTH seem to be from Tank Noodle. Not to put down Tank, I’ve never tasted it there, but it seems to be something you’re lucky to get even when ordering 2 days in advance, and at a significantly higher price (@ $42 in 2006) than which you’d pay at Nha Hang ($25). As you may have guessed, the soup impressively rich. It was accompanied by a heaping mound of choy sum (vegetable heart/stem) and a personal favorite, tofu skins (see pic). It was loaded with pounds of tender, skin on, bone in chunks of goat meat, and al dente lotus root.

It amazes me how many things are on the menu here, yet they never seem to be out of any ingredient, and everything seems so fresh and flavorful. I'm starting to wonder if they have a small farm in the back.

At Nha Hang, "service" is the wrong word for the attention you get, it’s more like eating with family. The more often I visit this place, the more I'm tempted to ask them to sit down to dinner with us. The warm smiles when they recognize you walking in, and the excitement when their food is appreciated is genuine. They are clearly passionate about the food, and they love the appreciation like a mom would.

In case you’re on the fence, don’t walk, run… all the clichés… Don’t miss out!

Again, sorry for the cell phone pics.

Image
Teamwork getting our hotpot setup properly. Notice the heaping veggie and tofu skin accompaniment.

Image
Avatar
#22
Posted February 14th 2012, 1:12pm
I just cannot wait to get here. Thanks for posts and pics.
_______________________________________

"Strange how potent cheap music is."
Avatar

#23
Posted March 5th 2012, 2:59pm
Bumping this thread to encourage folks to go to Nha Hang. Rich and I went for dinner last Friday night and there were only two other tables with guests. I'd hate for this spot to go the way of Pho Xua, and hope folks will support it.

We enjoyed a great lotus root salad, with plentiful shrimp, fried shallots, and crisp rice crackers. Our bowl of bun mam had just the right amount of spice and was delivered with a heaping, fresh plate of herbs and bean sprouts. We also had rice noodles with grilled pork and a spring roll. This may be my all time favorite Vietnamese dish, and Nha Hang's version is quite respectable, with the pork outshining the spring roll by a good bit.

As during our first visit, the service was friendly and helpful.

Ronna
Avatar
#24
Posted March 11th 2012, 5:17pm
REB wrote:Bumping this thread to encourage folks to go to Nha Hang. Rich and I went for dinner last Friday night and there were only two other tables with guests. I'd hate for this spot to go the way of Pho Xua, and hope folks will support it.

Ronna


Hi Ronna and Rich (we met you at one sister....), your bump worked and we had lunch at Nha Hang today. We were the only "round eyes" in the place most of the time, but there were a few other tables occupied. The menu is almost overwhelming with over 200 items coming out of that small kitchen, but they did everything well. We really liked the rare beef, the banh mi bo nuong (32), the recommended bun mam soup, and the banh xeo which we use as the measuring stick for all Vietnamese places we try. Much more personal and casual experience than the usual (though delicious as well) assembly line experience at Tank Noodle.
Avatar

Site Admin
#25
Posted March 25th 2012, 8:35am
Another great meal was enjoyed by a group of LTHers on 3/15.

Happy LTHers at Nha Hang
Image

I won't go into a lot of detail about the individual dishes, but here's a photo essay of what we had:

Woven Rice Cake with Grilled Sugar Cane Shrimp Cake
Image

Lotus Root Salad
Image

Duck Salad
Image

Rare Beef Salad
Image

Of the three similar salads we were served, the rare beef was easily my favorite. In fact, it's one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes in the city.

Roasted Quail with Watercress
Image

Bun Cha Ca
Image

Bun Bo Hue
Image

Mi Quang
Image

Beef Stir-Fried with Sour Mustard
Image

These last two dishes were my least favorite of the night, and I think the reason I didn't like them as much as some of the other dishes had more to do with palate fatigue than the dishes themselves. Both were very bland compared to the other dishes we had, although the sour mustard stems packed a pickley punch and were quite good on their own.

Seeded Crackers
Image

One of the real highlights at Nha Hang are the made in house shrimp crackers served with the salads posted above. These were a variation on a theme and included what appeared to be bene seeds. I'm not 100% sure which of the dishes these were supposed to accompany, but they were very good.

Water Spinach with Presered Bean Curd
Image

Goat Hot Pot
Image
Image
Image

This was truly an outstanding meal, but the real highlight of the night was LTH Forum's own version of The Glimmer Twins doing a stirring karaoke version of Don't Go Breaking My Heart. Love was in the air!

The Dynamic Duo
Image
_______________________________________

Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
Avatar
#26
Posted March 28th 2012, 7:28am
stevez wrote:These last two dishes were my least favorite of the night, and I think the reason I didn't like them as much as some of the other dishes had more to do with palate fatigue than the dishes themselves. Both were very bland compared to the other dishes we had, although the sour mustard stems packed a pickley punch and were quite good on their own.


I stopped by last night and noticed the Mi Quang is now being advertised on table tops as a house specialty and gave it another go as my thoughts were similar to yours. The soup has a mild nuanced broth, included tender cuts of beef, pork, pork cake and shrimp and was heavily garnished with the typical greens as well as fried shallots, sliced birds eye chilis and roasted peanuts which really elevated thigns. As part of a large meal that included a trio of killer salads and some more assertive soups, it was easy for this to get lost but it was a complex and wonderful dish on its own.

The owner was as welcoming as ever although I find the language barrier here one of the steepest around. Unfortunately I was the only customer in there around 6:30 last night. I really hope business picks up, they are operating at a much higher level than Tank and much more friendly.
Avatar
#27
Posted March 31st 2012, 2:54pm
Just came back from a great lunch at Nha Hang. Everything we had was mentioned and photodoc'd already...except this:
Image

The four crabs were split and deep fried to perfection. Slightly sweet, slightly spicy, with a touch of earthy fish sauce. The absolute part was the roe which was abundant in each crab. Hopefully you can pick up on it in the picture below.
Image

It was sent from the kitchen for us with great excitement, and should be appearing on the specials list soon. Maybe some LTHers will be having it tomorrow night? (a big reservation was made over the phone while we were there).
_______________________________________

"We eat slowly and with gusto." - Paul Bäumer in AQOTWF
Avatar
#28
Posted April 6th 2012, 1:59pm
Add me to the growing legion of fans here. Granted, I'm easy to please when it comes to Chicago's Vitetnamese offerings but Nha Hang really stands out.

Fresh ingredients, well prepared classics, extensive list of rarer dishes, inviting atmosphere, friendly folks--this will now be my go-to on Argyle. Sorry I didn't get to visit during nomination period, but it doesn't look like that will hurt its chances.
Avatar

Pitmaster Emeritus
Web
#29
Posted April 12th 2012, 7:11pm
Sweetbread wrote:The four crabs were split and deep fried to perfection. Slightly sweet, slightly spicy, with a touch of earthy fish sauce. The absolute part was the roe which was abundant in each crab.

Good call, thanks!

Before
Image

During
Image

After
Image
_______________________________________

Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

Low & Slow
Avatar
#30
Posted April 16th 2012, 4:19pm
What can I say? Great place. I recently spent a week in Chicago and ate many delicious things, not the least of which was a wonderful dinner at Nha Hang Viet Nam.

I will echo what many others here have said: this is truly one of our great Vietnamese restaurants. While I don't share the dissapointment many others have expressed with regard to Chicago's Vietnamese offerings (we sure beat New York, if not LA and Northern Virginny), Nha Hang is surely a welcome addition to the Argyle strip.

Everything the lady and I had was excellent: the duck salad with knock-your-socks-off-good shrimp crackers, catfish in claypot, and, of course, the spicy-sweet crabs hacked to pieces and brimming with roe. The crab course was ridiculously huge!!

Service was as nice as can be. A cold Pyrat (Belgian style ale purchased from Foremost Liquors a few doors west) complemented everything perfectly.

Can't wait to go back and try some of the soups.
_______________________________________

"By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
Chefs

Online Information

Users browsing this forum: Chisand, CoolerbytheLake, GAF, Google [Bot], jbrady3324, the wimperoo and 14 guests