Monday, June 10, 2013

ROC: East Borough - Refined Vietnamese Classics

Recently, my mother came over for a visit and I wanted to take her out to a nice brunch place in Costa Mesa as that's where the great brunch spots are in my opinion. Finally finding a parking spot in The Camp shopping plaza where it's generally difficult to even park your motorcycle, not only did we walk over to the Old Vine Cafe, but it was packed with what I had assumed meant an hour wait time for us. So, we took a walk around the place to see if there was any other great, interesting places to eat. What stood out out was East Borough with it's open air space and its imaginative use of the elements of nature as its decor such as plants that blend well with the restaurant's surroundings and a serene waterfall that provides a relaxing atmosphere to the diners.

East Borough serves refined versions of Vietnamese classics such as banh mis, spring rolls and rice dishes. They use quality ingredients for the food that they bring out. Some say that they're more authentic, diverse options in cities like Westminster or Garden Grove and yes I would agree that. However, they also say, especially on some of the Yelp reviews, that the food at East Borough is gentrified (even more so when one ties the name of the place to Brooklyn and Queens) to meet the tastes of "hipsters" making it automatically unauthentic. Well for starters, I wouldn't recommend hating on hipsters as not only is it passé, but people should realize, including myself a couple years back, that they are the refreshing, polar opposite replacement of the xenophobic, homophobic, anti-nerd/tech generation from the previous decade. Be that as it may, I would actually disagree with their food not being authentic as what I have seen and tasted before me were those same flavors their food pays homage to. Not only that, those flavors were also heightened with the help of the high quality ingredients they use which is the only thing I find that differs from some of the shops that originally serve this kind of food; no wacky ingredients.

What I ordered was their Bo Kho Beef Stew Baguette. With the refreshing traditional garnishes for the Banh Mi and the savoriness of the beef stew along with chunks of potatoes and carrots, this delicious sandwich definitely stacks up against some of the other, more traditional establishments. Like with any sandwich, the bread has to be good without any exemptions. The baguette itself was nice, moist and flavorful especially with its chewy, not crunchy crust. Along with getting it as a 12" size, it came with an au jus-like dip which seemed accented with citrus that complemented well with the sandwich as both the sandwich and dip are both in character, savory and acidic.

My mom ordered their Grilled Pork Rice Dish. With all-natural pork (I assume no additives and antibiotic-free), picked radishes (daikon) and carrots, and their large-leaf watercress; it was really delicious especially with once again, better ingredients. It came with a fried eggroll and a citrus vinaigrette on the side. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a snap shot of the dish.

With food made from the high quality ingredients, East Borough is a must try for those that love Vietnamese food or for those that want to try it for the first time as it's an amazing cuisine that mixes light and refreshing flavors with savoriness. Along with using environmentally, biodegradable containers, they also deserve kudos for having curbside pickup available if you call them in advance as listed on their website, especially if you don't want to drive all the way out to Westminster/Garden Grove for some banh mi. In addition to providing a calm, natural atmosphere for the diners, they have wonderful, charming servers which adds more pleasantry to East Borough.

East Borough on Urbanspoon

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