Mot Hai Ba – Lakewood’s latest Vietnamese restaurant

When I saw this article on a new Vietnamese restaurant in Dallas’ Lakewood area that was started by two Caucasian women, I knew I had to give it a try. I’m always on the lookout for decent authentic Asian restaurants that are located closer to me in the uptown area, without having to drive north past I-635. The most recent opening of Dalat (Vietnamese pho restaurant) on Fitzhugh was disappointing. Up until this week, the only place we frequently go to is Crimson Pho Restaurant, a short 2 minute walk away (a lifesaver for the hungover).

I persuaded the fiancé to take me on their third opening night. He is always hesitant to try new Vietnamese restaurants since his parents own an awesome one (not biased, I was a customer before we dated). The restaurant was busy and we ended up sharing a table with local Lakewood residents who were very pleasant with us. I really liked the decor…modern with warm Asian design aspects and reminded me of my visit to that country. Cool lamps and lighting for sure.

Loved their selection of Asian beers. They ran out of two that I wanted to try but the waiter recommended a Thai beer called Chang and I thought it was pretty decent.

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Dinner menu

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I ordered fried dill frog legs. Batter was light and slightly crisp. Needed salt…sauce was slightly sweeter than the usual prepared fish sauce nuoc cham and I would have really enjoyed it if it was slightly more seasoned.

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We also ordered their shrimp banh xeo (sizzling cakes on the menu), delicate thin egg crepes served with various herbs, pickled carrots and radish in nuoc cham. We both really liked it and thought it was lighter and fresher than most places.

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I ordered the lemongrass star anise braised oxtail and chose rice. I was surprised it came in a small Ikea like bowl…kinda hard to get to the rice at first but the oxtail was wonderful. Very tender and falling off the bone. Great full flavors and the braised vegetable had a good bite and balanced the dish out.

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Fiancé ordered their crab and chose vermicelli noodles to accompany it. The small bowl presented a challenge again…a dish like this might be better served in a plate with more room for cracking the shells. The flavor was full of garlic and he enjoyed the dish.

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We were surprised the bill came out to be around $65 before tip. I think we’ve gotten so accustomed to spending $20-30 at typical Asian restaurants up north. But the service was good and atmosphere was great – something you don’t normally receive. And it’s Lakewood! So close to home.

We are looking forward to trying their lunch menu which includes pho and banh mi (sandwiches served in airy crispy French baguettes). I’ll post something soon on my trials of baking the perfect banh mi baguette.

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