One of our favorite shows to watch is called Check Please. It's on public access and it shows three Chicagoans review their favorite restaurant. We have found so many of our favorite places to eat from this show. So after watching this weeks episode we knew we had to try Cafe Hoang in Chinatown. It's a Vietnamese restaurant with a huge menu. The have pictures of all of the food on the wall so you can order that way if you feel more comfortable. The man on the show ordered a #26 and I kept saying I would order that too. While we were waiting outside (didn't open until 2 for some reason)(weird on a friday), there was an article posted from the paper outside that said if you only come once order the Pho. So that is wat I did. The waiter came and sort of rushed us into ordering because there was a line of people waiting to eat here and a full house. So I just picked that with much regret. I think the problem was that I ordered the chicken version. Lame-o. I am so stupid.
Jason got the #26 which was a beef skewer and a shrimp skewer. Tons of noodles, greens and veggies, crushed peanuts, basil, bean sprouts and then you dump a secret sauce on top. It was what we think fish sauce with a little red chili flake. It was the freshest and most flavorful food I have had in a long long time I must say. I was so sad I didn't order it. I know I did probably eat half of it though because Jason said we could "share". Mine was lame. I have to admit the broth was very very flavorful. I can't quite put my finger on it but I think it may have been lemongrass or star anise. Not sure, but it was a delightfully unique flavor. It was served with a plate full of basil leaves, bean sprouts and lime to top it. The chicken was breast meat which I found interesting. It was super super dried out and flavorless. Tons and tons of noodles which came in handy for Lucy.
We did also order crab rangoons which we decided were the best we have had. I ordered the spring rolls which were very good because they too had fresh basil in them. You could put basil on anything and it would take it up 500 notches.
So we will definately be going back here for sure. It was amazing. I tell you this, I will be ordering the #26 this time.