Tuesday, March 04, 2014

TK Noodle & Grill - Irvine

Now here's something I never would've thought could open in Irvine: Com Tam Thuan Kieu, which is perhaps the most Little Saigon of all the Little Saigon restaurants. What do I mean by that? I mean it's divey--or at least the original was, the one I first wrote about here on these pages so many years ago.

This isn't quite the same Com Tam Thuan Kieu I knew. It's called Thuan Kieu Noodle & Grill, which is, from what I can see, a rebranded chain owned by different members of the family.

Furthermore, the newly opened restaurant in Irvine's Northpark neighborhood goes by the official title of TK Noodle & Grill, and it serves pho, which the original does not do.

But make no mistake: this is still a Com Tam Thuan Kieu. It says so in big bold letters inside the restaurant itself. And the menu has grand plates of broken rice surrounded by as many as 10 different toppings...yes, I said 10!

I did not try the 10 topping plate, which looks more like a party tray than something one person eats for dinner by himself. So I got the special, a reasonably priced combo of their grilled lemongrass-perfumed chicken, a whole mess of cha gio (deep fried Vietnamese egg rolls), veggies, and dome of broken rice garnished with sautéed green onions. It came with a bowl of hot soup ladled from the pho pot, the scalding liquid sweetened with bits of fried onion and meat to lubricate your mouth in between shovels of rice and meat. And of course, there's plenty of nuoc cham for dousing.

It was in the nuoc cham that I realized, once and for all, that this was truly a Com Tam Thuan Kieu and not some impostor--onion bulbs floated in it, a signature touch of the original.

3951 Irvine Blvd.
Irvine, CA 92602
(714) 389-4800

Craftsman Pizza - Placentia


At 6:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That looks good!


At 9:58 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

It was! I need to go back and try their 10-item plate. Volunteers?

At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10 item!

Game on! Too bad I'm in Tx I miss SoCal


At 5:10 PM, Blogger Greg Hao said...

@elmomonster - just went there for lunch today. if you still haven't given the ten item plate a go, i'm game to give it a go.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Sweet! Definitely up for trying it soon! But perhaps after I get the arteries to unclog itself from the full week of eating almost nothing but fatty pork...including Filipino lechon kawale!

At 8:57 AM, Blogger Greg Hao said...

heh. yeah, i'm not traveling for work the next couple weeks so let me know.

At 10:18 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Sounds like a plan! Greg, send me an e-mail! elmomonster75 at yahoo dot com!


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