Friday, October 19, 2012

Long Provincial Vietnamese Restaurant Review

Jason here. Last weekend we went to an awesome Vietnamese restaurant named Long. It is conveniently located right around the corner from Pike Place Market, so if you are in the area we highly recommend you check this place out.

The atmosphere was great. Unlike the last few places we went to which were loud, this place had a much quieter atmosphere, making this a great place for a date. The wait staff was very friendly, and attentive.
We read online somewhere that essentially everything in Long was gluten free except a few choice drinks which obviously contained gluten, and a few very specific menu items. You may be thinking, “How can that possibly be? Vietnamese cuisine typically uses soy sauce”. Well you would be correct, except that Long makes all their soy sauce in house and is gluten free. This is wonderful news for people that love Eastern cuisine, but feared they would never again be able to eat out for fear of gluten soy sauce being used. Just to be sure I asked the waitress when I order my meal if it was gluten free, and without skipping a beat she said yes. 

  The next thing is their menu. Long stays true to its name by having a very long menu. The amount of specialty drinks alone is impressive. I can’t wait to go back when kumquats are in season, and try the Kumquat crush. Curse my luck discovering Long shortly after they go out of season. The menu is also very friendly for those of us who do not speak Vietnamese, with very clear descriptions of the food, and even English translations for the food. You would think this would be the norm, but I often find myself perplexed as to what a dish actually is as I stare at a poorly designed menu.

I ordered an absolutely delicious Pomegranate martini. It was fruity and sweet with a hint of vodka, which is exactly what I look for in a martini. I can certainly add they did not skimp on the vodka either.
For an appetizer we ordered the grilled tender squid, which can be found in the Satay section of their menu. We had about 6 skewers of absolutely delicious squid. They came with a sprinkling of nuts, and were seasoned with what tasted to me like a smoky soy sauce. They also came with some pickled carrots on the side which were tasty themselves.

For my main course, I ordered a specialty dish of Co Ngu crispy shrimp. It came with a heaping salad including the standard green of lettuce, but also some very large minty greens, which I can only assume were full mint leaves. While the salad was impressive, and unique, I unfortunately did not enjoy the mint leaves which dominated the salad. Next time I will simply ask for some sort of caesar salad instead. On the other side was deep fried sweet potato. This was not simply sweet potato French fries. Oh no, the sweet potato was in long almost noodle like strands and sort of woven like a birds nest. The taste was heavenly, like the most delicious crispy noodle you will ever eat. I don’t know how I have gone this long without discovering this magnificent treat. On top of the fried sweet potato were some excellently cooked shrimp, which when dipped in the sauce was delicious. The sauce was very sweet, with just a hint of salt.

Kayleigh here. For my meal, I could not help but opt for the fried tofu pho. Having only been introduced to this lovely soup a few months ago, I have fallen in love with the idea. Deliciously simple broth absorbed by the simple rice noodles and bite-sized bits of tofu, with a bountiful plate of condiments set in front of you to further flavor the bowl. I mean, this pho was good enough to eat plain, but I still gave it a kick with the hot sauce and peppers. Plus, the fragrance of the fresh basil was mouth-watering on its own as I ripped up the leaves to float on top. And to wash it down, I was delighted to spot and order the peanut butter martini. Smooth and creamy, with a strong vodka kick- it really hit on everything I could ask for in a PB drink!
At the end of the meal, after ordering two alcoholic drinks, an appetizer, and two main dishes, I naturally expected the bill to be on the higher side. I was stunned to find it about half of what I’d usually expect. Seriously, for that food, and the prompt service- kudos!

For such excellent service, a diverse menu, stunningly delicious food, great atmosphere, gluten freeness, and a low price, I cannot help but full heartedly recommend Long Provincial Vietnamese Restaurant. It’s a couple blocks away from the Pikes Place stretch, but well worth the extra few steps.

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