Vo's Vietnamese Restaurant
3450 Lyndale Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55409
3450 Lyndale Avenue South had once been a post office and when I first moved to town 36 years ago it was Post Office Pizza. More recently it spent a long stint as El Meson, a Spanish and Caribbean restaurant owned by Chef Hector Ruiz, co-owner of Café Ena, Rincón 38 and La Fresca. Chef Ruiz left in 2013 because the building was falling apart and he didn’t want to put any money into it. Shortly after Chef Ruiz left, Chef François Vo moved his traditional Vietnamese restaurant in. He masked the Latin American booths with garish paint colors and equally unnerving colored lights. We found the clash of colors disconcerting enough that on our first visit we moved to a table. We also found the food on the greasy side and the vegetable to meat ratio a little high.
We would have written the place off but it is only two blocks from our house, and our old standby the Saigon, two blocks in the other direction is now a dog grooming parlor or something. When neither of us feels like cooking, we have had our fill of pizza and are pissed off at Bite Squad for sending our orders to Richfield, I put in a takeout order and drive two blocks to Vo’s. Over the past two years Vo has spiffed the interior up somewhat – the booths now alternately painted either red or blue and have either matching blue or red lights, he has added some plants and he has covered the poles and soffits with decorative dried grasses that tone the colors down somewhat. More importantly, the food has less grease, the vegetable to meat ratio has improved and the food is good. He offers 2 cup of soup options – wonton or shredded chicken noodle - for $3.15. Three big bowl soup options include rice noodle with shrimp and BBQ pork; egg noodle with BBQ pork and wonton, and PHO all for $8.50 per bowl. They are all good. The Pho is a favorite. Vo’s egg rolls – 2 for $4.00 are some of the biggest I have seen. The outside is crispy perfection and the inside is flavorful and well cooked. There are 8 other appetizers costing between $4.00 and $5.95 and none have disappointed. Vo offers 7 barbecue entrees from $8.50 to $11.50 and 5 cold entrees ranging from $7.50 to $ 11.00. Thirteen entrees range from $9.95 to $11.95 and most have the option of chicken, beef, pork or shrimp. The last several times I have been stuck on their Vietnamese low mein served extra hot and I really need to try something else but I like it. Vo also offers 19 vegetarian options ranging from $3.15 5o $10.50. The serving sizes are generous. Two entrees and one order of eggrolls are dinner and lunch for two people.
I still have trouble eating in blue or red light but their patio is quite nice in the summer with large palm plants and a $3.00 all day special on Surly Furious. Sure, you are sitting next to Lyndale Avenue and breathing traffic fumes, but with the right table a palm plant blocks the view of the street and you are eating a Lunch Special costing $6.25 to $6.50 and drinking a $3.00 can of Surly Furious. How bad is that?
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