We have received quite a few recommendations for Vien Dong, some glowing, others more neutral, but all recommendations none the less. And while we might find ourselves in the more neutral parts of the water, we definitely do dive in and recommend Vien Dong.
It's all about the freshness, something every dish we sampled scored well on. The broth base of the wonton soup, for example, was nicely flavored by the vegetables, making the dish surprisingly refreshing. The spring rolls too—here filled with tofu—held a high standard, and were what some might classify as "summer-y". Or "spring-y". You get the point.
Multiple followers of Team SpoCOOL had highly recommended the "Dong Special Chow Mein" to us, and we can see why. The noodles were tasty, and cooked properly; none of the mushy dull stuff we so often see. I was pretty OK with the meat in it too, even though the lack of seasoning might put some off. As far as the shrimp goes, I picked it out and would recommend you do the same. The shrimp is a fickle friend, and is hard to cook properly when not fresh. Here it was neither, though other than that the special was very good. As was the vegetable fried rice.
When we ordered this feast, the waitress gave us kind of an odd look, asking if we knew how much we were ordering. And really, we hadn't expected quite the bang for the buck we got here. For less than $30 you could probably feed a group of six for a couple of days.
Half of Team SpoCOOL compared the food to that from Vietnamese relatives as well as food eaten in Vietnam, the other half compared it to Vietnam Cafe in Philadelphia. Vien Dong fell just short for both of us, but is still very much recommended. You can't go wrong with the freshness you get for the price here.
Vote for Vien Dong: It’s your civic duty!