Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chao Vietnamese Restaurant チャオ 022-211-8055


Address:  仙台市青葉区一番町4-2-12.   Located on Ichibancho between Hirose-dori and Jozen-ji dori about 50 meters from the Disney Store.

Map:  Click the "Location" link below.

Lunch:11:30 am - 3pm.

Dinner: 6 pm - 10:30 pm.

Closed Mondays.

If you’re looking for truly, authentic Vietnamese cuisine, well, … good luck, and let me know what you find.   In the meantime, if you’d like to eat a delicious meal that highly resembles Vietnamese food, then you’ll be quite happy with Chao!

I’m not Vietnamese so I cannot claim to be any type of authority on Vietnamese cooking.  But I have been to Vietnam and fell in love with the flavors of that beautiful country, especially their pho and Vietnamese coffee!  Like I’ve written before, it’s difficult to find “just like when I was in (fill in the country)” ethnic food in Sendai, so I guess I have to give some slack to Chao.

When I went for dinner I ordered the spring roll (生春巻き) with pho set meal (1180 ) .  The harumaki came with a ナン・プラー (fish oil?) sauce, which I didn’t like, and a miso sauce, which was good.  The spring rolls were agreeable and had a sweet taste to them.   My wife went with the pho set and the fried spring rolls (揚げ春巻き) which had a fishy taste to them that I didn’t care for.

Spring Rolls: 生春巻き


Fried Spring Rolls: 揚げ春巻き

The pho was delicious and I was quite happy with it.  That being said, it was NOT like I had when I was in Vietnam.  It was just missing something that I couldn’t quite pinpoint.  The pho had one meatball in it along with some shredded chicken, and the broth was very tasty.  I was also pleased with the generous size of the soup bowl.


Pho Soup


But I was hugely disappointed in that Chao doesn’t serve Vietnamese coffee!  I have a thing about good coffee, and while traveling in Vietnam I fell in love with the way they serve their coffee.  I just can’t understand how a “Vietnamese” restaurant doesn’t offer Vietnamese coffee.   

They do serve a nice, complimentary cup of jasmine tea at the end of the meal.   I’m kind of sitting on the fence when it comes to jasmine tea because I feel the fragrance is a little overwhelming.  But Chao’s jasmine tea was smooth, palatable, with just a hint of a jasmine scent, which created a nice, relaxing feeling after pigging out on the pho.

Besides the coffee, another thing that I didn't care for was that they had a quite attractive a la carte menu, but many of those dishes were NOT AVAILABLE that day, and they seemed to be the ones I would've liked the best.   I could understand if one or two items were no longer being offered, but it seemed like half the menu was scratched off.

And just for your info, this restaurant is small and the seating arrangement is a little strange.

I do recommend this restaurant if you’re looking for something different and delicious.  I know I will return every now and then to pho down, especially come winter time.


*For a recent update of Chao's, please click UPDATE: Chao's.

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