T-ZO: The West End’s Vietnamese Destination

Vegetarian Summer Rolls (left) and Shrimp Summer Rolls (right)

Meet T-Zo!

by Debby Critchley

ALEXANDRIA, VA- T-Zo Vietnamese Restaurant is the latest in restaurant destinations in the West End. Michael Bui and his wife Quynh Do have partnered with his parents to open this beautiful new space at 5774 Dow Avenue just off Van Dorn. T-ZO features North Vietnamese cuisine. How is it different? There is less oil and less sweetness to the cooking. The broths used in the pho is deeper and richer in flavor. There is no Thai basil for the soup. What you will find are similarities in the lightness and freshness of the cooking. There are lots of fresh herbs and spices in many of their dishes. For example, the summer rolls come in several varieties including shrimp, avocado, or vegetarian. All are loaded with the featured ingredient and lots of herbs, all rolled in sheer rice paper. The spring rolls come with a fish sauce and vinegar-based sauce. The vegetarian version comes with a soy sauce-based sauce with no fish sauce so it is perfect for vegetarians and vegans. The spring rolls are lightly fried and filled with a choice of shrimp and pork or vegetarian.

Vietnamese decorated baskets hang on the walls

There are at least six noodle dishes that are composed with rice vermicelli noodles. The Hanoi grilled pork vermicelli comes with grilled rice patties, vermicelli, and lots of fresh herbs including mint and cilantro. The veggies and tofu vermicelli substitutes tofu, mushrooms, and other fresh veg for meat. The stir-fried beef vermicelli is served with the same freshly cooked vermicelli and herbs. Made to order, the dishes are light, fresh, and a delight and delicious.

Hanoi Hot Egg Coffee

The most popular drink in Hanoi is Hanoi Egg Coffee. A raw egg yolk is added to the traditionally used sweeten condensed milk and whipped. Hot or cold espresso coffee is then topped with a thick layer of whip. The egg creates an ultra-rich topping that tastes yummy, and when stirred into the coffee, makes a drink to swoon over. Don’t like coffee? Try the Vietnamese Egg Hot Chocolate. When it comes to cold drinks, the lemongrass limeade is a most refreshing combination of limeade, ginger, and lemongrass. You may as well order the large size because when you finish the smaller size, you’ll wish you had ordered the large. The same goes for the watermelon tea. Green tea is infused with watermelon juice and the ice shares space with junks of watermelon. The slushes are great too.

Be aware everything is made fresh to order so call ahead so your order is ready when you arrive. Carry out, delivery, or eat in, the food does not disappoint.

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