I have a huge weakness for Vietnamese food - be it the comforting pho, the healthy salads or the more indulgent hot-pots. We relocated from Seattle to the San Francisco bay area almost two years back and have been looking for good vegetarian Vietnamese fare ever since. Being a Pho Cyclo regular (gush! gush!) in Seattle for over two years, I was almost beginning to give up hope.
I was explaining my predicament to a food aficionado that the best Vietnamese I've eaten in the bay area, is at Tamarine in Palo Alto (contemporary and pricey for everyday eats). She recommended that I try Vung Tau. Interestingly, it was started by the parents of the folks who run Tamarine.
So we decided to give Vung Tau a shot right away and I am delighted we did. Right from the casual decor to the warm service and most importantly, excellent food, it hit the sweet spot. They have a separate Vegetarian menu (very cool!) and I ordered the "Lemongrass Tofu with rice noodles" without any hesitation. As soon as the dish arrived, I could smell the fresh lemon grass and on the first bite the aroma filled my mouth (mmmm!). The tofu itself was succulent, elastic and flavored with lemon grass and chili all the way through. They also gave me imitation fish oil to flavor the salad. Overall, the dish was a good balance of sweet and spicy. I am definitely coming back here for seconds and thirds and... many more.