Monday, April 26, 2010

Andy Nguyen's

Andy Nguyen's has literally been around forever in Sacramento--it's one of the very few all vegetarian restaurants that has endured.  Since changing the menu 99% of the food is vegan, and what is only vegetarian is labeled as such so vegans can rejoice!  Andy's has everything you would expect in a Vietnamese Buddhist restaurant as far as music and decor.  It's lighting is forgiving and dim at night, bright and awake during the day from the wall of windows and mirrored wall.  It is not a huge restaurant, more on the small side for number of tables.  Sometimes there is a wait, sometimes not.  I suggest going early to avoid the crowds because....*wait for it*...the service can be really slow.  And by really slow I mean painfully starving for your food slow--however, if you are knowing that you are in for the long haul dining experience the pay off can be probably one of the very best meals you have ever eaten.  THAT GOES FOR YOU TOO, OMNI'S!  It just might turn you out vegan! :)  Can I just recommend leaving the kids home for this one?  They won't understand the wait even if you bring snacks to keep them tied over.  There is always at least one cryer in there at all times belonging to well meaning parents.  It's too small to walk around and as a mother I am just trying to keep it real.  As much as I would love it to be kid-friendly, the fact is save this place for your adult friends/dates/meet-ups sans the little ones.

Now,  the food is just delicious.  I mean everything is so fresh and flavorful I have never gotten a bad dish.  The mock-meats are all soy (but not GF) and very, very "meat-like".  Some vegans are in to that (moi) some are not, but there are also tofu dishes to choose from.  If you had to wait 45 minutes with your chosen company this will salve over any hard feelings you might be starting to get.  Enjoy your company, savor the time and just you wait for your meal.  MMMMM.

We normally get the "soft garden rolls" to start:   cold rolls with flavorful tofu, cabbage, herbs and carrots wrapped in rice paper.  It comes with a delicious peanut sauce and we love to get some chili sauce and put a dash in the middle so you get a swab of hot with every bite.  Since they no longer have a true pho, the next best soup is the "patience noodles".  The "pho" noodles are swimming in such a savory asian spiced broth along side soy ham and beef, tofu and vegetables/mushrooms.  It's perfect for sharing.  Another favorite of mine is the "pure heart nori fish".  This is a huge dish!  The soy nori wrapped fish is grilled and has a citrus/ginger sauce served over lettuce/basil/tomatoes.  (Vegan fish is my fetish, seriously.  When I can get it done well I am all about it, and this dish is done right!)  This last time we went in, there was a new specials board.  I didn't note the name of Shawn's dish, but it was an okra tofu veggie medley.  Okra can be badly cooked but he noted it was done quite well and complimented the softly sweet and sour sauce.

There is an extensive tea menu and they serve coffees and thai iced-teas.  They had 3 vegan deserts out of four on their special board as well.  With appetizers, drinks and deserts you can easily spend over $50 for two people.  Although not the least expensive vegan Asian option in Sacramento, it is honestly one of the best.  Try it with an open mind, and bring at least one meat-eater with you to check out some good eats!

They also do take away:  I am thinking that if you want to share this experience with friends and family out of the restaurant calling WAY ahead for your to-go order is prudent.  Just add 20 minutes to the time they quote and you won't be waiting around too long. 

I am giving 4.75 tomatoes out of 5.  The only draw back is the wait/service *sometimes*, and the lacking of kid-friendliness.  Be prepared and you won't be disappointed!

Andy Nguyen's
2007 Broadway, Sacramento CA 95818

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