Aug. 29, 2012 - Issue #880: LP
Tien Tuyen - A taste of Vietnam
Tien Tuyen serves up tasty cuisine in a modern setting
On the way to the bathroom, there is a long corridor with tiny tables for two but judging by the lack of lights on above the tables, they're not used often. Past the women's bathroom is a private party room that could hold at least 25 diners. This room has its own entrance and faces 91 Street.
For a Thursday night at 6:30 pm, the restaurant was busier than I expected. There were three other couples and a few diners who were eating alone. The atmosphere was relaxed enough that I'd even feel comfortable dining alone—I usually only eat alone on business trips. The hockey game was playing on a TV in the corner, but you couldn't hear the game over the dance music.
I felt like a milkshake and was tempted to choose jack fruit or mango. I decided to experiment with an avocado milkshake ($4.50). My husband ordered a bottle of Tsingtao beer ($5.25). My milkshake was memorable. It was the perfect thickness. It was buttery tasting with just the right amount of sweetness, though hearing my milkshake being made at the open bar in front of the kitchen was a bit jarring. Other diners turned to see what the loud noise was and all conversations ceased.
Our spring rolls ($7.45) arrived promptly after our drinks. We used the Sriracha sauce that was available on every table to spice up the basic spring roll sauce. The spring rolls were mediocre—deep fried pork and carrot. However, they hit the spot and were a decent price for six rolls.
We asked our server to recommend a main dish for us, but she was indecisive, saying, "Anything with curry in it." We had scallops in coconut curry sauce ($17.95). The yellow curry was thick and creamy with the perfect amount of spiciness. The scallops were soft and tender, though on my third scallop in, I noted what felt like sand gritting between my teeth. This dish was one of the most expensive on the menu but was worth it because we received over a dozen scallops in the dish. We added a side of rice ($2) to sop up the curry.
Our last two dishes surpassed the first two. The Singapore-style fried vermicelli ($10.95) was impressive. Tiny succulent shrimp, strips of chicken breast and vegetables stir-fried to crisp perfection. The noodles contained an ideal amount of curry. The ginger beef ($13.95) was average-quality meat (there were a few chewy pieces) and was also served with a generous amount of slightly snappy green and red pepper rings. The fresh pineapple chunks mixed amongst the beef made for a sweet and spicy dish.
We didn't have room for dessert (they offer red bean cake with coconut) and had enough leftovers for both of us for lunch the next day. This modern and clean restaurant is a great place to come for a meal if you don't have much time. The service is fast but you can linger and take the time to enjoy your meal. My husband and I were in the restaurant for an hour and a half but our fellow diners were there for an average of 45 minutes. I would definitely dine here again and would like to use the party room for our next big family gathering.
2619 Ellwood Dr
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