Dave’s View: Andrea and I decided to check out Long Thanh Chinese & Vietnamese Restaurant on 71st Street in Indianapolis. It’s located in your typical strip mall with its boring signage outside. It looked like to me a great food adventure. A run down strip mall with basic signage is always a sign of a fantastic restaurant, but in this case, it was sub par.
When you first walk in, you don’t know if you’re suppose to order at the counter due to the menu being plastered on the front wall, or sit down. There was no one to greet us, but we could see two people in the kitchen towards the back and one of them told us to sit wherever we wanted to. So problem solved.
We sat down and we order an appetizer, Beef Spring Rolls. While we were waiting, I looked around. Not much to the place, some odds things, like tablecloths that belong in a Scottish bar and a karaoke TV. Yes, you could have sung along in I believe, Vietnamese, to the most hypnotizing music you’ll ever listen to, while looking at Vietnamese couples on TV looking sad and desperate walking along beaches and deserted resort towns. After hearing three of these songs, I could see Andrea slowly going into a trance. I don’t think Andrea can remember what she ate, but she will tell you her side of the story in just a bit. Then the fourth song came on and I was falling asleep. I started taking pictures of anything to keep me from falling asleep, but I had some trouble, but then…
Then I snapped out of it. Our Beef Spring Rolls came. They were quite tasty. Nice combination of beef to vegetables ratio. Not as fresh as other spring rolls I’ve had in the past, but this one was quite typical. Not horrible, but nothing too fantastic. After hearing about three more mesmerizing Vietnamese karaoke songs, my main dish, Pork in a Clay Pot came out. Be cautious with the pot, it’s extremely hot. Like “blister your fingers” hot!!! When I took my first bite, it obviously had a nice saucy pork taste to it. When I took my second bite, it still had a nice pork taste to it. When I took my third bite, it still had a nice pork taste it. Your probably reading this at this stage going, “Hey, Dumbass Dave, it’s called Pork in a Clay Pot for a reason.” Yes, I know this, but I wasn’t expecting to be overrun by pork. 90% of this dish is pork. Very little vegetables were added. Yes, there was some onion and something green in it, but I couldn’t tell you what it was. The dish did come with some rice, which did help to break up the monotony of pork, but in the end, the meal was a bust. Way too much pork and no balance of vegetables to fix it.
Our server was kind and couldn’t quite figure out why I was taking pictures. It was the first time this has happened in our food adventures. I don’t know why, this being our 82nd restaurant review, it took so long. I was expecting some owner in our third restaurant review to give us some crap, but in this restaurant nobody seemed to care, which is a plus. It was a Long Thanh coming for someone to see me taking pictures. You knew I had to get that phrase in here somewhere.
Service: 8 Food: 7 Ambiance: 7 Total: 22 out of 30
$15-$20 without adult beverages. They do not sell adult beverages.
Andrea’s View: After watching the food network for some recipe ideas, I was craving Vietnamese food. I then remembered that there was a little Vietnamese place on 71st near Binford. I told Dave about it and we went one afternoon for lunch. Long Thanh is a tiny place and when you first walk in , you think that you order at the counter because the whole menu is displayed behind the counter on one of those old-school white boards with the grooves for the black plastic lettering to click into. But do not be fooled by the old-fashioned amusement park menu, you actually sit down to order. The menu is vast, both with Chinese and Vietnamese dishes. We ordered the beef spring rolls to start and I got the lemongrass chicken. I should have ordered the pho, it’s what I really wanted, but since I’ve blogged about pho before, I thought that I should try something different. The lemongrass chicken wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as veggie fresh or as spicy, or as lemongrassy as I have come to expect from Vietnamese food. It seemed heavier, more like a Chinese dish, and it may have been. There really was no distinction on the menu as to what dishes were Vietnamese or Chinese. You kind of have to rely on past experience to know the difference. The spring rolls were really good however. They were spicy without heat, and full of fresh pickled veggies. Very Vietnamese. The décor was a little dated, the service was good (we were the only ones in the restaurant),and overall, it was cozy and nice. Dave especially liked the sing along video playing on the TV. He even sang a little. Don’t worry though, Dave doesn’t sing in crowded restaurants.