NS* La Table du Vietnam, 6, avenue Bosquet in the 7th, 01.45.56.97.26, closed Sundays (RER: Pont d'Alma but lotsa buses), has been open since 2013 and as some perceptive loyal readers know I rarely eat in non-French places, but I've been easing this self-imposed rule when it comes to ex-colonies. La Table de Vietnam is in Upper Class/Yankee invaded territory, not Belleville or the 13th, and I've hesitated to come, my palate poisoned by the junk pushed by the take-out places in my nabe and elsewhere.
But my dearest friend who knows more about French and other cuisines and wines has just come off a 6-week spot of ill-health and asked what was on my famous "list" (unspoken - that would challenge and interest her). This place! It's at 6, Avenue Bosquet, site of many failed places (lastly - Nabuchodonosor, before that 6 itself, before that, I forget, but I can find the place like a homing pigeon). I enter, she's got the wine and her meal figured out - cool.
Back stories: I first sampled Viet Namese food as a student around the Sorbonne in the 1950's and thought it good product, well-cooked and reasonably-priced. Then I did a year in Viet Nam (1967-8) where I escaped the military's food clutches by going with Viet Namese colleagues to local restaurants (great fish) and their homes (where I had both real home-cooking and exotic stuff like "pork in the style of the dog".... Sure). Then, back in country, I tried Viet Namese places in New York City and Northern Virginia and Paris over the next few decades and really was never convinced it was as good as the old original. Until today.
She said "I'm just going to have the Bun de la Table Viet Nam" - it's got everything. Fine by me. Me, I wanted the 34 E 2-course menu with chicken nems with lettuce to wrap and dip them in (which as you can see she got as well) and the pork (and shrimp) with caramel Hanoi fashion. Very fine by me. But as we ate she said 'You know this could use some hot." I agreed, something's missing - I look around, tables were not set with chilis nor nước mắm.
I ask Madame if some might be possible - she lights up like a Christmas tree - "Of course." Then my pal, sort of looking longingly at what I've hesitated to finish eating, says "Ah, may I have more of yours?" "Of course, I really have finished." "Actually, I'm pretty, hungry" Orders some pork raviolis. Very good.
Our bill, with no bottled water or coffee or tea or Sai Gon beer (had by one customer [a women married to a colleague of mine who pretended she didn't recognize me or blow my cover eating with my sister wife, mistress, girlfriend or starlet date, things are very complicated with descriptors of women in France these days]) was 107 E.
Go? If you can't make it to Viet Nam this year - sure.
*NS = no rating. I just don't think I can rate Viet Namese cuisine given what my diet consists of.