HUNGRY BUDDHA BELLY


S Restaurant Fine Vietnamese Cuisine by phoboy99
September 22, 2007, 2:15 pm
Filed under: asian foods, dinner, drinks, fine dining, food, pho, resturants, unusual foods, vietnamese foods

I had a special dinner with my two close friends of mine Joe and Steve that I haven’t see in months and to celebrate we decided to try someplace that I would never thought I would eat at. The Hungry Buddha Belly knows his vietnamese food very well and know where to get the best of anything Vietnamese.  Being so close to Little Saigon Westminster I can appreciate the vast assortment of foods for great prices near by but The S Restaurant being the closest true Indochine food to my home has been opened for over 2 years and I have never been in it until tonight. It is “S” because Vietnam as a country geographically looks like an “S”.  I usually feel that most high end Vietnamese restaurants are the biggest rip offs since you can get the same food for rock bottom prices in Little Saigon. However, you can’t approach this place like that. I have been told from my friends that they make Vietnamese food slightly different.

 Elegant chic Lounge

My first impression was WOW what a very elegant and chic restaurant. If you didn’t tell me this was a vietnamese/chinese restaurant I would never guess it. It has very nice hints of Asian influence in its decor, a beautiful lounge and bar area where big plush soft leather sofas await you to order the many special unique martinis they have to offer including the fully stocked bar. The atmosphere is very relaxing and warm. I have been told they got the same designers who decorate PF Changs and when remodeled form an old Bennigans restaurant they spent a 2.5 million budget. Definitely money well spent with real wood and rod iron screens hand blown glass lighting fistures and various Asian themed artwork through out adorning the walls. I have to say the detail of this restaurant is very nice it does exudes what it claims “Sensuous, Stylish, Superb”. The hostess was dressed a beautiful traditionall Vietnamese dress seated us quickly. Our waiter Brian was very attentive and knew his Vietnamese food. The odd thing was that he was American/white and he pronounced all of the food correctly in Vietnamese, that was very surprising to see and hear this since a tall Caucasian gentleman schooling me on what Vietnamese food was. Obviously very well trained and knew his food as well, big ups to him.

So I had a special martini called LYCHEETINI. which was unique since it had 2 lychees on a bamboo stick mixed with vodka, a splash of cranberry and lychee juice, great way to warm up the belly and refresh the palate for the tastings ahead. Another added touch that I liked was that not only did they have a wine list but a tea list as well with all types of asian teas ranging from Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese. Maybe one day I will try out a tea to get the my YANG UP 🙂

 Escargo in curry

For appetizers there were many of the same items I see on other vietnamese menus like spring rolls, egg rolls, etc… however we decided on 2 starter that I don’t usually see and was claimed “special”. We ordered a cool and refreshing CA Cuong a Vietnamese ceviche with fresh fish, shrimp, in a lime vinaigrette mixed with peanuts, shallots, and mint all served in a martini cocktail glass for show. To add to the crunch fresh fried shrimp chips accompany the ceviche to which you put the seafood salsa on. One bite it was like busting through a wave at the ocean in my mouth. The second item was a hot and rich escargot baked in a Thai coconut basil curry sauce with toasted french bread for dipping. YUMMY! The escargot was not chewy or tough it was very well prepared with melt in your mouth characteristics, plus a little heat from the curry kept me in check for the Asian flavors that was to come ahead.

 

For the entres we decided to get a family style dinner approach since we all wanted to try what each of us ordered. There was the BO LUC LAC a french/Asian inspired filet  of beef stir-fry with garlic, shallots and a sweet soy sauce cooked to a very nice medium rare served with rice and some pickled cucumber salad. My friend Joe claims it was the best Bo Luc Lac in Little Saigon, I would have to differ since Steve and I agreed that it was good but it was no match to Kim Su’s version. I will have to blog about that restaurant another day.

We also ordered seared scallops topped with black bean sauce and julienne ginger, Chinese chives and drizzled with olive sesame oil. This dish was very sweat and salty and the scallops were cooked to perfection. I like the garlic, nutty sweet flavor of the black beans to accompany with the jasmine rice I had with it. This dish I heard was very good with their Chilean sea bass as well. The final entre we had was the best item that I think sold me as fine dining and definitely unique to any other Little Saigon eateries that I have been to. I would highly recommend with extra stars to this dish get the CA NUONG LA CHUOI which is the halibut fillet bedded with sliced of ginger and topped with cilantro pesto, baked in a banana leaf on top of lemongrass sticks. This dish was sooooo goood and so simple that I thought I was back in the mother country. The halibut was very moist and flaky with blends of lemon grass, ginger and the hint of banana from the leaves and the cilantro pesto perfumed the fish with it’s natural flavors. Presentation and function of the leafs is nice when they plate it and serve it to you.

 Now my friends and I unusually after a big meal like this don’t order dessert. We are not dessert type of guys however I was intrigued to find out what desserts does a fine Vietnamese restaurant offers? There were a couple of items that sound appealing to try. The one items that we didn’t order which we should of have on the menu was Chuoi Chien a batter dipped banana topped with rum caramel sauce served with ice cream. Brian our waiter suggested the mixed berry frangipan (a berry pie) with ice cream. I ordered the Espresso Kailua Flan- coffee custard baked with Kailua liquor and topped with a golden caramel sauce. Joe claims that they make the best tiramisu around. Now I like tiramisu and have had it in all types of places as well as fine italian restaurants but this was a bid claim expecially coming from a Vietnamese place. Quickly the assessment of desserts, the mixed berry fangipan, ok, nothing exciting there. The Kailua Liquor flan not bad, a little strong on the coffee flavor but I understood what they were trying to execute. BUT the TIRAMISU TRIFLE was the BOMB!!! It was the best if not tie for first on any tiramisu dessert I had. The Tiramisu had layers of marscopone cream, butter sponge cake drizzled with Kailua and espresso and chocolate shavings served in a large red wine glass. Stick a fork in me because I am DONE GOOD!

Overall the S Restaurant gets 4 AND A HALF RUBS OF THE BELLY for decor, service, unique approach to Vietnamese food and fine dining touches. I definitely would go back on special occasions or a very nice night out with the wife (leave the kids at home) and be treated to a special experience. Be prepared for an expensive night but well worth the moment.

The restaurant is located at 545 Westminster Mall Drive, Westminster, CA 92683. www.sfinedining.com.

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Tony, Very nice, enjoyed the detail of the food and decor. You might give Tony Bourdain a run for his money. But tiramasu in a Vietnamese restaurant?? What’s next Vietnamese cannoli??

Good job, will look for more. 40th ST. Sponger

Comment by 40th St. Sponger

im hungry right now. :]

Comment by shabalaba ding dong

im a fatty make mee some food you hor

Comment by shabalaba ding dong




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