It would be easy to drive past and mistake Lang Van for a used car dealer, or to completely avoid the neighborhood that some deem “scary”. Seek it out anyway. Experiencing Lang Van is worth stepping out of your comfort zone.
Inside, Muzaked Celine Dion and her cohorts tinkle in the speakers of the small dining area. The water glasses never run even the tiniest bit low, thanks to the overeager staff. The cuisine is Vietnamese, and there are over 130 choices on the menu.
Curry, coconut cream, lemon grass, onion and sweet potato mixed with chili that provides just enough residual heat to warm your lips makes an amazing Chicken Curry dish. The Vermicelli House Special bowls and Pho (beef soups) are what bring many customers back, as well as the rice paper wrapped Spring and Summer Rolls. Fresh mint, cilantro, crumbled peanuts and julienned carrots garnish many dishes, and the peanut sauce is a welcome addition to main dishes as well as the aforementioned appetizers. Crisp and chewy textures juxtaposed with tangy, sweet and salty flavors is what makes these dishes memorable.
Unfamiliar with Vietnamese food? The servers will help you make a decision. If you return a few times, the owner will know your order down to the beverage preference. If you return consistently for ten years or so, she will extricate your children from their car seats, show them off around the restaurant as if they were her own, settle them at a table, and then remember everything your entire party has ever ordered. It is like your Vietnamese mama welcoming you home with all of your favorite foods, and then sending you home with peanut cookies and a full belly.