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Ha Long Bay Bistro

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Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby Osso Muriendo » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:06 am

Went there last night, nice new space, Massive menu (which usually isn't a good thing, our waitress hadn't even tried all the specials). I had the Laab which was great and the spring rolls and potstickers were some of the best i had. My companions liked their entrees even if i wasn't crazy about them. It's worth checking out, i live on the near west side near Sai Bai Thong and i am definitely making the drive to willy st. when i crave SE Asian.
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby Qbert » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:20 am

I got take out from there last night as well. The service was excellent and I had the B3 salad with shrimp (I think): basically a spring roll in salad form. It was DELISHOUS. I agree, the menu is intimidating. We also got the chicken basil fried rice, it was a little uninspired but will make for a good lunch today.
EDIT: Just tried the fried rice again=Yummy. Guess I had to get down to the good stuff.
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:23 pm


Although now that the wedding craziness is out of the way, a trip down to Ha Long Bay shouldn't be too difficult to finegle.
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby Ashley » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:36 am

The problem I had was that service was unbelievably slow. Maybe they will hire more servers?
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby prenticeberge » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:55 am

Advice on how to read an Asian Menu:

Think of it as a dictionary with major headings. Start by scanning the major headings. Then below you are able to customize it to your liking, as most any dish can be made with your favorite protien - chicken, beef, shrimp, or tofu. That simplifies things a whole lot. Almost all are categorized into 1. thin noodle, 2. fat noodle, 3. crunchy noodles, 4. white rice based, 5. fried rice base. and finally, the only part of the menu organized like a western menu, 5. house specialties. Not every asian restaurant is set up this way, but almost all are.

I highly recommend the Ha Long Bay Pho (#PH8) on the menu. Went in on Sunday night and it was lovely. Delicate and fresh broth with vermicelli noodles, several kinds of meats- beef flank, tripe, sliced balled sausage and it came with a nice plate of sliced thai chiles, thai basil, limes and bean sprouts to add to the mix. I like mine a little spicy so used the hot homemade red chile sauce at the table to tweak it.

Overall, an excellent experience. The owner is in the kitchen doing the cooking, and she really knows her stuff.
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby christopher_robin » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:57 am ... icle=26598

Raves for the pho seem to be universal.
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby boston_jeff » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:00 am

Best Pho I've had in Madison.
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby prenticeberge » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:04 am

Yeah, it's that good. Reminds me of a place I went to behind the Rex Hotel at the other end of the block from Apocalypse Now in Saigon (HCM City) in 1990. Really outstanding.
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby fennel » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:08 am

Anyone notice whether they have wheat gluten on the menu? Love that stuff.
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby naybobber » Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:47 am

Had lunch there the other day. Service was courteous fast although it was mid-afternoon and they weren't very busy. The Pad Thai with tofu was the best I've had in Madison. Dining partner had some sort of fried rice with chicken that was also very good.
This will become a regular on our takeout routine.
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby TAsunder » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:13 pm

We went and had the spring rolls with an egg roll inside. Anyone who puts an egg roll inside of another roll is a genius. It was good. There are other menu items that feature egg rolls as well...

We also tried some of the bun(sp?) noodles and the panang. The panang was ok - good, but not as good as LLX or Bahn Thai even. Still, it was good. The noodles were quite good.

Will have to try the Pho. So far I like this place.
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby Kyle Motor » Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:31 am

I checked it out last night. Best pork spring rolls I've ever had. I got the ginger garlic chicken thing that comes in a clay pot. Completely delicious. This is gonna be a regular spot for me now.
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby NullDevice » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:46 pm

I finally got over there.

It was good. Not outstanding, but good.

I ordered some spring rolls and a deluxe pho. My compatriot had a lemongrass beef bun noodle.

The spring rolls were great. For once it's nice to get a spring roll that isn't loaded with filler noodles, and isn't sitting next to a bowl of a sticky plum or hoisin sauce. The vinegar sauce was perfect.

The pho was...well, it was good, but not great. The plate of condiments they gave me was a bit disappointing - a underripe wedge of lime and some beansprouts that were clearly past their prime marred that. The pho broth was good, but when I order a "deluxe" soup, supposedly filled with tripe, soft tendon, meatballs, etc I expect to actually find those things in the soup. There were a few slivers of tripe, one piece of tendon, a single meatball, and the de riguer slices of beef. I've had less impressive pho by far in Madison, but I've also had better. What it really did have going for it was the cost ratio. It was huge for the low price it cost.

The bun was roughly on par - it was quite good, but not great, and not the best we've had around here. It was a lot bigger than anybody else's, though. The meat was tender, but surprisingly low on the spicing.

Wasn't bad by any means, and it was quite inexpensive, but it wasn't the thunderbolt-from-the-heavens restaurant I'd been expecting from the glowing reviews. Next time I go there I'm going to have to try out some of their other entrees. Perhaps the laotion stuff, to see how they stack up to the Lao Laan Xang juggernaut.
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby Rachelz » Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:08 pm

I wish you would have gone when they first opened. Unfortunately, it's been steadily slipping down hill - why do good restaurants have to do that? The pho I had the first two times was the best I had in Madison - the condiments were fresh and generous, and the beef was thinly sliced to perfection. Since then, each time I have ordered the pho, it has gotten steadily worse. The last time (and now it has been at least six weeks since the last occasion), I actually picked the beef out of the soup it was so bad. Thickly cut, awful pieces of beef. Now, pho beef is normally really fatty, but it is so thinly cut that the fat adds flavor rather than gross unchewable wads in your mouth.

I haven't been back since that last disappointing meal. I'm waiting for someone to say that it is back on par again, but that hasn't happened yet.
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Re: Ha Long Bay Bistro

Postby Terry_Hockey » Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:05 pm

Food is excellent, if you don't mind waiting 45 minutes for it. Very slow last two visits. Gnawed off half my arm before the curry arrived.
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