Not Your Typical Vietnamese Hole in the Wall

Although the banner over the brand-new Quan Bac says the food is French-Vietnamese, the name itself, "Northern Eatery," provides a better clue to what's cooking inside. From what hounds have reported, the sprawling menu has no more than the usual dose of French influence. But there are no complaints about the fresh, flavorful northern Vietnamese fare in a space that's a cut above La Vie in ambiance.

Cha ca lang vong is a show-stopper: sizzling Hanoi fish fillets with caramelized scallions, onion, and dill. It's a delicious combination that comes with cold vermicelli noodles, mint, cilantro, lettuce, and daikon-carrot pickle, says saffrongold.

Bun rieu, a meatball-noodle soup, features ethereally light, even fluffy meatballs in a stock with nice tomatoey tang, says sfbing. It's garnished simply with shredded cabbage.

The menu is huge, with 144 items before you even get to drinks and dessert, sfbing notes. There are plenty of adventurous eats, including snail noodle soup, crabmeat fried red rice, and pho with bull's penis. Too much? The unthreatening chicken version (pho ga) is really nice, says DezzerSF, on the light side in the northern style.

Quan Bac [Inner Richmond]
4112 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco
415-668-8898

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