Thursday, April 2, 2009

Everybody Loves Ray's Vietnamese

Ray's is possibly the one place that no one - really literally no one - in Anchorage seems to have a bad word for. Tell people you are going to almost anyplace in town, and you will get at least one "Really?" or "Why?". But not Ray's. And in spite of all that love, it took us only 10 months to get there. But better late than never! Now, I will say right up front that I have no way of knowing how authentic Ray's is. And when push comes to shove, I don't really care. What I do care about is that they have delicious food.
We got an appetizer of fried egg rolls, Mr EA got Beef and Broccoli, and I got Spicy Tofu with Tamarind. Fans of Asian food in general will find a lot on the menu that looks awfully familiar, but when it arrives it will be different than what you might expect. The decor gives you a lot to enjoy while you are waiting for your food. There are wildly elaborate, prism-encrusted chandeliers, lots of plants, oriental-style paintings, and western-style paintings of Vietnamese subjects. When the food does arrive, you are in for a treat.
The eggrolls are more delicate than their Chinese counterparts, and contained ground pork, those thin transparent noodles, and some light vegetables. My Spicy Tofu with Tamarind was delicious. The tofu came in crispy chunks, accompanied by a variety of vegetables in a light sauce (really almost a broth) that managed to be spicy and lightly sour without overpowering the flavors of the main ingredients. Mr EA had Beef and Broccoli, which was basically a drier and crisper version of the Chinese dish of the same name, which was also distinguished by its healthy infusion of cilantro. In his words, it was "absolutely wonderful!" We both felt that in general, the Vietnamese dishes we ate were lighter and fresher-tasting than Chinese, which tend to be a bit denser and have thicker sauces. Both can be incapacitatingly delicious, don't get me wrong. They are just different styles, and it's good to be aware of that.
We spent so much time deliberating over our choices that I know we will need to go back soon - there are some interesting looking soups and duck dishes that we are going to need to try. (We'll let you know!) So if you are the mood for fresh, flavorful food, try Ray's. You'll be glad you did!


Unknown said...

Except they are closed ALL weekend which makes it hard for date night

Thats my beef with Rae's

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