Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ya? Ya! YaYa Cafe and Shaved Ice

Open a solid Asian restaurant in Austin, and I will appreciate you.

Open a solid Asian restaurant in Central Austin within a few miles of my house that is open until 10:00 p.m., and I will kiss your feet and throw rose petals on the path before you.

OK, maybe not. But I will eat there. Often. And I will be deeply grateful.

It was with high hopes that I darkened the doors of YaYa Cafe and Shaved Ice for the first time a few weeks ago. I sampled their spring rolls, a pork vermicelli bowl, and the wonton soup.


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The spring rolls were a little on the soft side, which made them a little difficult to eat - they didn't hold together as well as I would've liked. But they were still a nice treat, and the accompanying peanut sauce laced with chili had just the right measures of both sweet and heat to keep things interesting.

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The vermicelli was fresh and well-made. The pork had a nice char on it, and wonderful flavor. There was a fair amount of lettuce filler on the bottom, but the serving bowl was huge, so the portion was still plenty for me.

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This wonton soup wasn't mine, but of course I tasted it anyway. The soup could've used a little bit more oomph, but the wonton skins were happily quite delicate, and avoided the coarseness often found in restaurant wonton. I was impressed.

A second visit ensued within the week. This time, I was there for lunch, and tried their iced tea. Jasmine in just the right measure mixed with a quality green tea had me swooning; I asked where they acquired it, and was told they import it from Hong Kong. I guess I'll have to come here to get my fix.

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This time, I sampled my friend's cabbage salad. At first I thought it was too bland, but later bites revealed that it was just a little unevenly dressed, and the well-dressed bites were fresh and delicious.

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I was pleased to discover that their banh mi also hold their own; clearly my favorites in the Central Austin banh mi landscape, although that field is admittedly painfully small.

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YaYa's may not be a deeply authentic Vietnamese food experience, but the flavors I encountered here suggested to me that there is someone in the kitchen with a keen palate who cares about what's landing on the table in front of you. I feel quite sure that I'll be back frequently, and I'm thrilled that they've brought quality Vietnamese food to Central Austin.

7 comments:

  1. Do you think they'd be interested in an Edina location?? YUM!

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  2. Great write up! I've eaten here a grand total of two times and was pleased. I agree with best in Central Austin and field is way too small. I miss North Austin's banh mi's but now I live literally across the street from Yayas.

    I see you soon!

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  3. Loved your commentary! Another place for us to try next time we're in town.

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  4. Sad I am not still in Austin to try this!! Looks pretty darn good!

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  5. yum. banh mi in the hood. i will be on that action 2morrow.

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  6. YaYa for good Vietnamese food in Central Austin. I must look it up post-haste!

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  7. On your recommendation I ate here twice this week! I am beside myself that an excellent (combination!) bahn mi is close enough to be "in the 'hood!"

    On the first visit I shared the smallest size of the shave ice (green tea ice cream + strawberries) with a large man and we only managed to eat half, but it was excellent.

    On the second visit I ordered a jasmine milk tea with boba and the server asked me, "from 1 -10 how sweet do you want it?" Coulda kissed him right there, and they nailed my "2 please."

    ReplyDelete

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