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Mot Hai Ba is as Good as 1, 2, 3

08.19.2014 by: Allison Turpin
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Mot Hai Ba is an experience. And a wonderful experience at that. As you pull up to the non-descript small house, you second guess if Google maps has led you astray. The only markings on the outside of the restaurant are 1 2 3, which you now know is simply the translation of Mot Hai Ba. But do not be confused by the sign, you are exactly where you want to be.

As you walk into the dimly lit restaurant, you are greeted with an eclectic, funky décor: lamps hanging upside down from the ceiling, short stools for seating at each low-profile table, and themes of black and red throughout. It is uniquely cool and intimate. Owners Jeana Johnson and Colleen O'Hare created Mot Hai Ba after motorcycling through North Vietnam. The menu inspired by their adventure is relatively small, but everything we tried was absolutely delicious, very creative, and served in much larger portions than expected.

Sizzling Cakes with Shrimp, Sprout, and Scallion Served with Fresh Herbs and Lettuce Leaves

Banana Flower Salad with Chicken

Green Papaya Sald with House Beef Jerky

Under the appetizers, give the Banana Flower Salad, Papaya Salad, and Sizzling Cakes a try. The Banana Flower Salad is only for those who love spice, as the thin dressing packs a seriously spicy punch. The salad is beautifully textural with crunchy peanuts, thick banana flower leaves, and shreds of chicken.

The Papaya Salad is much sweeter and lighter with thin strips of papaya and sprouts soaked in an acidic dressing. Topped with a few crispy strips of salty beef, we couldn’t stop eating it. This salad is refreshing and filling all at the same time.

A very unique appetizer is the Sizzling Cakes. It is an interactive dish that requires you to take a large, crispy lettuce leaf and pile it high with fresh herbs and a slice of the thin, crispy cake filled with scallions and shrimp. It was really flavorful and tasty, unlike anything we had ever tried before.

All of the entrees sound appealing and would be sure to please whatever mood you are in that day. One important item of note is that they do not serve their Pho on Friday or Saturday evenings. It is traditionally a breakfast and lunch item in Vietnam, so it does not always appear on their dinner menu.

Fried Half Chicken with Coconut Poached Corn and Herb Oil

Street-Style Duck with Flash Fried Okra

Garlic Noodles

Our favorite entrees were the Fried Half Chicken and the Street-Style Duck. The chicken was coated in a sweet and savory Asian sauce that was finger-licking delicious. The dish was cloyingly reminiscent of your favorite Chinese take-out dish elevated to a sophisticated and much more satisfying level. The Street-Style Duck was cooked to perfection and served with flash fried whole okra. Thin slices of spiced duck were floating in a flavorful broth that tied the dish together. As a side item, get an order of the Garlic Noodles for the table. Thin egg noodles are coated in a garlic-heavy sauce that is addicting and a great complement to any meal.

Donut Holes with Condensed Milk Ice Cream and Vietnamese Coffee

Be sure you do not skip dessert! As a play on a Vietnamese coffee, the Donut Holes are the way to go. Five perfect donut holes are rolled in star anise sugar and served alongside a scoop of sweetened condensed milk ice cream bathed in coffee. It is the ultimate donut and coffee experience.

Mot Hai Ba is a restaurant not to be missed. They have a small, dog-friendly patio outside, and the wait was not long when we visited. The food is creative and utterly delicious, and the only thing you will be disappointed about after your meal is over is that all of the donut holes are gone. 

Mot Hai Bot Official Website

TAGS : Lakewood/ White Rock Lake , Mot Hai Ba