Hours: Lunch, dinner: Sunday, Tuesday-Saturday
Fresh, authentic Vietnamese cuisine in the far-northwestern reaches of the city.
Run by a former chef at the now shuttered Pasteur, Hoanh Long kicks out solid Vietnamese fare in the far-northwestern reaches of Chicago proper. Banh xeo, a turmeric-tinted crepe with fresh shrimp, roast pork, and mung beans popped with flavor. Coi cuon, fresh rice-paper-wrapped spring rolls, also appealed. Pho was done in a canonical rendition, enhanced by fresh rice noodles and a side plate of herbs, sprouts, and lime. Initially ca kho to, catfish simmered in a clay pot, seemed salty, but it worked well eaten in the Vietnamese fashion as an accent for rice. Tom sate hoanh long, sauteed tail-on shrimp, hinted at spicy heat as did goi ga, a crunchy sprout-filled chicken salad; additional hoanh long sauce, a toasty house-made chile oil, is available for chile heads. There are also a number of Chinese-American offerings with Vietnamese-sounding names. Mi xao tom, for example, the almost ubiquitous fried noodle basket, was surprising good, with tender shrimp, fresh veggies (with the exception of that damned canned baby corn), and expertly fried noodles. There are bubble teas on offer, but I prefer the refreshingly tart lemon juice with soda. Service is friendly and the surroundings are comfortable--the seemingly mandatory flat-screen TV was set at a mercifully low volume playing cooking shows from Vietnam.
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