A new restaurant that can possibly break the curse of the doomed location? It always baffled me how businesses can’t strive in what seems to be prime location. VinPearl – Viet Taste Lounge took over the spot off Little River Turnpike between Pep Boys and Ara on October 15th. For the last 5 years that I’ve been in Annandale, this location has been 3 different restaurants.
I was very skeptical when I first walked in, they have poor signage and nobody in their dining room. It’s a semi-fast food setup and feel. You walk up to the counter, order and pay first and then sit down and the food is served to you. Honestly, I like this style. It gives the customer a little more control as to when you’re ready to order without the hassle of a server irritating you because you need to tip them for doing a good job, but perhaps they really didn’t give you good service.
This restaurant offers you pretty much anything you’d like in the realm of Vietnamese food: banh mi, phở, Vietnamese entrees and bubble tea. They don’t have appetizers on their menu for some reason, but they do serve rolls. We had their chả giò and it was delightfully crispy and not that oily.
We had the Shaking Beef (bò lúc lắc) and it was absolutely delicious. It came out on a sizzling plate, the beef was well flavored and portioned nicely. The Beef Noodle Soup (Bún bò Huế) was a little lacking though. They give you a nice portion and a lot of beef and pigs blood but only one small slice of pigs feet. The soup was pretty oily and spicy, but it wasn’t inedible. I just probably wouldn’t order it again.
I know that the restaurant has only been open for a couple of weeks now, but I would suggest getting some better signage. The restaurant is setup like a sit down restaurant so people walk in expecting to be seated, and then not realize they’re supposed to order first. An “Order Here” sign would be great. They keep one door locked and one door open, but there’s no signage that says “Please Use Other Door.” We almost turned around and walked away thinking the restaurant was actually not open because there’s such aa lack of signage. And for a new restaurant, they weren’t really on it with customer service or sales” It’s a figure it out for yourself kind of situation. If it wasn’t for the phenomenal bò lúc lắc and chả giò, I probably wouldn’t bother returning, but I think this place could stand a chance.