2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back?

April 12, 2005 at 9:57pm By: Mr. T Posted in 625 Elm Street

I stopped in at the new Dac Nguyen resturant that apparently just opened in place of the old Vien Dong restaurant across from UNL city campus. I was surprised to see it open since I was under the impression that it was going to be serving Teppanyaki cuisine and would thus need extensive remodeling to move in grills.

I was even more surprised when I walked in to find the same waitress who worked at Vien Dong - WTF?! Hmmmmm. Anway, the menu seems to be aiming for some sort of slightly sophisticated Pan East Asian experience. It seemed like the least expensive dish there was $7.50. I tried the chicken curry. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was almost an exact replicate of Indian-influenced Southern Thai or Malay style chicken curry (ie “Massaman” or “Muslim-Man”), with a coconut milk base, onions, and potatoes (hence the Indian touch). This is very different from the typical super oily chicken curry you would order at many chinese or vietnamese places. The ingredients were all fresh, vegetables were crunchy, and the chicken was nicely cooked too. Dissapointing was the fact that the curry itself was extremely mild, even for Nebraska tastes in my opinion. In fact it was about as spicy as a glass of warm skim milk, which was disheartening.

Overall, what was a bit unsettling at first is that the entire menu has been completely over hauled and much more limited. However, that is not to say that a smaller menu necessarily means its bad. As the french know, a restaurant with a small menu usually means that the listed items are all high quality! And there were a few items on the menu I have never seen before anywhere. Again, it seems to me like Dat’s is aiming for a more sophisticated clientale (ie grad students and faculty from UNL), just based on prices alone. I noticed that there was lobster and other seafood av

ailable on the menu. I was definitely dissapointed that virtually all of the pho that was previously offered at vien dong’s is now gone. Anyone with any culinary tastes knows that pho ranks among the best of dishes anywhere. And there is no teppanyaki available at all either, contrary to my earlier expectations.

Dat’s is probably worth a few more visits before a final verdict.

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