Managing Editor Emeritus
As I opened the door for the first time to enter the relatively new restaurant Mai Chau Friday evening, the tangy smell of peanut sauce prepared me for a meal inspired by the unique dishes of Vietnamese street food. The restaurant, not yet a year old, had four wooden topped tables and bar seating along the windowed wall facing the street.
Olive green paint and weathered, wooden panels adorned the walls, and each table had a bottle of Hoisin sauce, Sriracha, and a fun, repurposed tin can containing chopsticks and paper napkins.
The casual meal ordering process helped successfully execute speedy dish serving, as customers grabbed a menu off the wall by the door, ordered at the counter in front of the kitchen, sat themselves, and the food was quickly brought out.
I had planned to order the noodle bowl with Filipino style fried pork belly, but the kitchen was out of noodles when I placed my order around 6:30 p.m., so I ordered the rice bowl instead. They also ran out of the lemongrass chicken protein option for the noodle and rice bowls the order after mine, so it seems the business is still working on food inventory, because they ran out of noodles and chicken quite a bit before closing at 9:00 p.m.
Despite my order change from noodle to rice bowl, the meal was delicious. The bowl not only had a variety of flavors, but also a range of textures, from crisp bean sprouts to fluffy jasmine rice, the dish was an overall success. I added a drizzle of Sriracha because I love spicy food and the rice bowl was not spicy, but it is nice that the customer can control the level of heat.
Frances Hinkamp ’16 also ordered the rice bowl with Filipino style fried pork belly, along with a steamed bun with Japanese fried chicken.
Hinkamp said, “the last time I came here was in November, and the food has definitely improved since, I would come back again.”
Although Hinkamp was impressed with her meal from Mai Chau, Cassie Fay ’16 did not feel the same about her noodle bowl with Japanese chicken: “I didn’t really like the options on the menu, but I also am not a huge fan of Asian cuisines.”
Ellen Mullan-Jayes ‘16, although originally wanting a noodle bowl, ended up enjoying the rice bowl she ordered instead: “I was disappointed that they were out of noodles, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good the rice bowl with the fried pork belly was!”
Mullan-Jayes had previously ordered the noodle bowls from the original Mai Chau food truck, but had never eaten at the restaurant before.
Although the new restaurant is still new to the business, my experience eating there was enjoyable and delicious, and I would definitely return to and recommend Mai Chau on Prospect.