We have received the tragic word that Nhut Quang has closed in its current location. We had an update in the works for this review, as one Stumptown Vegan really found herself falling for this charmingly nondescript, delicious restaurant during the past year. I am sorry this update did not make it in time. In particular, this reviewer has this to say about #19, RIP, the BBQ Roasted Gluten:
The tender and chewy gluten featured in this Vietnamese dish is unlike any I’ve encountered elsewhere. Mingling with green onions, a unique BBQ sauce, and served with brown rice, it was instantly my new favorite dish in town. The owner is a passionate, friendly vegan Buddhist who is a treat to talk to, and support. The vegan eggrolls, Vietnamese crepe, Roasted Gluten bun and classic pho are all recommended as well.
The Stumptown Vegans will notifiy you if we hear about the owner opening a new restaurant.
Time Visited: 2
Often referred to as Van Hanh’s NE sibling, 1. because I am sure I’d slaughter the name if I said it out loud and, 2. because the menu is similar.
If Nhut Quang was being judged only on atmosphere they would be in trouble. This little restaurant is connected to a gas station on NE Fremont and NE 82nd, between Honey Suckles and Pussycats, if you know your East side gentlemen’s clubs. The first time we visited we missed it because it didn’t seem like a likely location. Even once we entered it still didn’t seem like a likely location. Being the only people it felt very lonely. The walls are each different shades of green and blue without any other decoration besides a lone clock – ticking. If there was any other noise than the kitchen, like some music, the clock wouldn’t be a problem. The tick-tok of each movement reminded us of our mortality. After the second visit we decided it’s too uncomfortable to go back, but we would order our food to-go.
We’ve ordered just a sampling of the vast menu – Bird’s Nest Noodles, Pho, summer rolls, steamed bun, potato rolls, tofu dishes, and a combo. The sign boasts all vegan so we went for it all. All the food reminded me of the SE 82nd Asian market, Fubonn, from the mass amount of fake meats to the noodles and the sauces. It didn’t seem fresh or unique, but straight from a plastic wrapped package or bottle.
The Pho had a gritty broth as if a vegetable bullion has just been dissolved in boiling water. Then a round package of noodles was placed in, followed by some vegetables, fake meat, served with some fresh herbs. A similar recipe followed the other dishes. This isn’t to say the dishes weren’t good, they just weren’t fresh like the dishes at Pho Green Papaya or Bay Leaf ‘s quality.
The dishes were good in a cheap Vietnamese restaurant way, which is perfect because that’s what Nhut Quang is – Vietnamese and cheap. The steamed buns were good, as were the salad rolls. Unfortunately, there’s not much to say about them. It’s the kind of food I used to eat when I’d drop by a Vietnamese friend’s house unexpected and she’d cook up something quickly.
This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t go back, it’s just located father from my house than I’d prefer to go for Vietnamese food. I could list off other places I’d recommend, but if Nhut Quang was in my neighborhood, I’d visit more often. If Nhut Quang is in your neighborhood, or you’re a big fan of Fubbon or Van Hanh – check this place out and help me fill in the gaps as to why I don’t have much to say about the food.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Location: 3438 NE 82nd Ave. Portland, OR 97213
Hours: Mon-Tue and Thus-Sat 9am-9pm, Closed Wednesday, Sun 10am-9pm