Today we visited Da Kao Vietnamese restaurant. It is located near Hamilton on west 7th. It is family owned and operated. They have received numerous awards for the soups and other Vietnamese specialties. The restaurant itself is nothing special to look at. Inside and out it just looks like you average well-worn Midwest Asian restaurant.
The tables were clean and we were seated immediately. The menu contains numerous Vietnamese dishes as well as a Chinese section that some Midwestern people may find more accessible. This way you can try some adventurous dish and your mom can still order something like orange chicken. I ended up ordering a pho that came with a mixture of meats including beef, tripe (does this count as meat?), and meatballs. I also ordered crab rangoons. The dish arrived at the table incredibly fast for how large are group was.
The crab rangoons came first and they were awesome. They came with a neat little bowl of sweet and sour sauce. The crab rangoons were large, rich, and creamy. The sweet and sour sauce was able to cut through this heaviness and add a great flavor. When my soup first arrived I wondered if this was a portion meant for a sumo wrestler. It was huge! There had to be at least a pound of rice noodles and a large amount of meat on top of that. The rice noodles were a great texture and really took on the flavor of the dish. The meats were good, but no great. The broth was amazing. The broth is what makes the soups at Da Kao so good. Every type of soup has its own unique broth and they are all delicious! I could easily make a meal out of some simple noodles and big bowl of one of their broths. There are so many unique and interesting spices in these broths that it is hard to identify any one single ingredient. It’s hard to tell what specifically makes the broths so delicious, they just are. Some are light and airy, while others are a heavy beefy smack in the face.
First and foremost, Da Kao is a family owned restaurant and that’s why I recommend them to everyone. Also, there food is simply good. To get a great and maybe even adventurous meal at Da Kao expect to spend 7-10 dollars. The environment is clean and welcoming to all ages. Da Kao restaurant is a great place for everyone from the timid eater to the bold adventurer. As a final note, don’t forget to try the sauces provided at the table. You won’t be disappointed.