Vietnamese at PPQ, 2/8/14

On Saturday I got the urge that Vietnamese was in order. I put the call out on Facebook to see who my peeps thought were venues worth checking out.

Keeping in mind a few variables – 1) the place needed to offer more than just Pho, 2) it couldn’t be too exotic (not everyone in my dinner family is adventurous – and some have “food issues” I won’t go into) and 3) as much as I like the TL in SF – with the crappy weather last night – I wanted to stay out of the downtown and TL or new my office (those places I can get to for lunch)

So the trending recommendations are listed below- with PPQ being our choice for the night. (note – I will most likely try all them on the list eventually!)

  • PPQ: 2332 Clement St (between 24th Ave & 25th Ave)   San Francisco, CA 94121


Of course, without thinking – we arrived around 6:45 with-out reservations – – the place was hopping but the very efficient host, once we asked, put us on the list and we were seated about 30 min later. Hint – there seemed to be an early crowd then a around 8:30/8:45 lull in the crowd, with another hit coming soon after. 

The place has a great casual faced-paced vibe – this is not the place you go to be chatty with the wait staff unless you happen to be fluent in Vietnamese and even then – the side talk we brief. But once seated they pretty much leave you be while you eat – so we weren’t feeling rushed which I liked. We were hungry, so sat and ordered the fried calamari and the fried spring rolls right off. While debating our main meal options – we devided and went with Lemongrass chicken (which has a little spice/heat to it), the 5-spice chicken (which is more deeper flavor but not hot spicy) and the Roasted Crab. We also ordered the garlic noodles (of course) and the string beans  – which were rocken. We had ordered the crab fried rice – but the kitchen never sent it out – so thats on the next try. Oh and we gilded the dining lily and also order the fried Banana’s with the ice cream to share.

The food comes out pretty fast – and is very hot. The Calamari was some of the best I have had. They use the Calamari steaks with the breading – quick fried – they were tender and melted at the bite. The Springs rolls  were dense and chewy  – when dipped in the sauce with the basil and lettuce was a great start. As the main courses came out, we dug in. They weren’t sent out in any order or all out at once – so it was good that we had lots of options. Both chicken dishes were good. Rich in flavor and a nice sized portion. The Crab –  which came out last, was we heard while waiting in line – one of the crowd favorites. Hot, messy, packed with a garlic butter sauce, and just enough of the innards left in that you got the flavors of crab. It comes partially prepped – but you will still need to be prepared to get “as one” with your food to get to the meat.  (FYI -the drunken crab is the version with the white wine). Oh –  there is a reason they call the place PPQ – Dungeness Island – they offer the crab 6 ways. The garlic noodles were good as well – but make sure you specify how many to order -if you are getting lots of dishes start with one order to share – you will find a little goes a long way unless its your primary meal. Over all a good time – the place does well with couples, to groups and is deceptively large with a back room and second floor. While we were standing there at least 5 calls came in for reservations on  valentines day.. hint hint. The prices are moderate – entrees running $10 – $14, the Crab around $38. But we also had enough food to bring home for lunch  – our average price of the meal was about $50 each.

  • Tu Lan:  8 6th St (at Stevenson St)  San Francisco, CA 94103 Neighborhood: SoMa (415) 626-0927
  • PPQ: 2332 Clement St (between 24th Ave & 25th Ave)   San Francisco, CA 94121
  • Hai Ky Mi Gia: 707 Ellis St (between Larkin St & Polk St) San Francisco, CA 94109 Neighborhood: Tenderloin (415) 771-2577
  • Sunflower in Potrero Hill or Mission:  3111 16th St (at Valencia St)  San Francisco, CA 94103 Neighborhood: Mission (415) 626-5022,  288 Connecticut St San Francisco, CA 94107 Phone number(415) 861-2336
  • Jasmine Garden:  708 14th St San Francisco, CA 94114 Phone number(415) 861-2682
  • Tin Vietnamese
  • Mau:  665 Valencia St (between Sycamore St & 18th St)  San Francisco, CA 94110 Neighborhood: Mission (415) 934-8889
  • Vietnam Cafe ( Recommended for late night)
  • Evergreen Garden: 3100 18th St (between Treat Ave & Harrison St)  San Francisco, CA 94110 Neighborhood: Mission (415) 864-1657