My colleagues asked me what I was doing for the weekend. I informed them L and I were going to Phu Quy. They all chuckled and said they loved the name of the restaurant. Phu Quy is the name of an island in Vietnam, not a swear word. Mai told me to check out this place out for all-you-can-eat beef and shrimp wraps. As she’s incredibly particular with her Vietnamese food, I had to try it.
There wasn’t any music playing during our visit. The silence in the room took me by surprise. I considered not playing a video for this post to replicate the experience but I prefer my blog with music. For this post, let’s listen to “Wrap Her Up” by Elton John.
We ordered the all-you-can-eat beef and shrimp wraps ($26.99 per person). We received a heaping platter of raw beef and shrimp, rice paper wraps, butter, vermicelli noodles, iceberg lettuce, sprouts, basil, mint, cucumber and pickled daikon and carrots. I noticed the portions of everything we received was generous.
The vermicelli was chopped up, so you can easily pick up and distribute it evenly around. The noodles were separate and loose and not clumped together like other restaurants that serve DYO wraps.
The shrimp and beef were not seasoned or marinated, so you have to be liberal with the dipping sauces and tray of condiments. Dipping sauces include pineapple, peanut hoison, and fish sauce. However, I recommend also making use of the hoison and hot sauce to liven up the protein. I noticed the sauces weren’t sweet like I’m use to Pho Hoang Viet, Golden Bell (Richmond) and K-Viet.
This picture above doesn’t show accurately how much beef and shrimp we received. It was piled high and too much for us to eat. Usually at Vietnamese restaurants, I find I don’t get enough of the mint and basil. I didn’t find that problem at Phu Quy. One of the best parts of this meal were the vegetables. The pickled daikon and carrots were sweet, tart and crunchy. The mint and basil were fragrant and fresh.
In our first attempt of cooking, we didn’t realize the grill was too hot. The owner came out to replace the grill because he said the burned remnants of food made the grill unusable. I’d like to note that we didn’t set the temperature, our server did.
There was a bowl that’s strategically placed by the grill to capture the drippings from the grill. I didn’t realize this and when L told me not to move it, I retorted that I didn’t like it when he tells me what to do in an Asian restaurant. He didn’t say anything until 10 minutes later, when the water leaked onto our table. Oh god, I don’t deserve such a nice man.
The shrimp was small and you have to remove the tails yourself. Since it’s all-you-can-eat, it’s not a big deal. The shrimp wraps were light and needed extra help from the condiment tray.
If you want just all-you-can eat beef, the price lowers to $23.95. Beef, shrimp, squid and fish cost $27.95. per person. I think the prices Phu Quy charges is well worth it. If I bought these ingredients myself, it would be around the same amount. Also, making this at home would be time-consuming and messy to clean up afterwards.
The beef was lean and thinly sliced. I preferred cooking the beef until it caramelized on the grill. The hoison sauce in the squeeze tube bottle paired best with the meat.
When I wrapped the beef filling with the rice paper wrap, the roll dripped with the sauces. I used the lettuce to wrap around the rice paper. I’d alternate between using the lettuce and rice roll to wrap my food, and in some cases both vessels.
The family that operates Phu Quy are kind and genuine. The female owner came out and asked if we wanted another platter of beef and shrimp. No way we said, as we were too full. L forced himself to finish the remaining meat because he didn’t want to waste it. I asked our server if customers eat more than one plate. He responded that usually the guys would eat two plates to themselves. Once, two guys came in and ate three plates. They told the owners they would stop at three plates because they were a family business, but they could eat more. I told our server that I felt bad leaving all the fresh vegetables. He smiled and said not to worry about it.
I’d recommend Phu Quy for their wraps if you want something healthier and different from what your accustomed to at Vietnamese restaurants. The food wasn’t as sweet, greasy or as saucy as Korean or Japanese BBQ restaurants. I noticed all the customers dining here spoke Vietnamese and they were eating traditional Vietnamese dishes, like steamed clay pots with steamed rice. I’d like to return to try their 7-courses of beef ($49.99 for two). As we left, we saw a table being set up for a group of ten. I can see how this restaurant would be ideal for families or group of friends. Grilling your own wraps was a communal and social experience.