Tay Ho - Oakland

After seeing quite favorable reviews on Check Please and then the other half’s friend coincidentially texting about the great dinner eaten there, we visited yesterday, figuring much of the Check Please initial rush had subsided. The food was ok, and the service was atrocious.

We arrived and were seated fairly promptly. He who seemed to be the bartender tended to us just at the start, and was quite friendly. We had stopped at the Punchdown for an aperitivo and bought a bottle of Vouvray to bring, which I thought would go well with VN food with a bit of heat.

We ordered Hue dumplings to start, and then Hanoi Trio Grilled Pork lettuce wraps, and garlic fried rice with shortribs. The dumplings came last. I liked them, but the sauce had no heat at all. Nor was there any hot sauce on our table. Nor did anyone come by our table after we had our food. The lettuce wraps weren’t bad, but there was no sauce, there were three, yes three lettuce leaves (with probably enough meat for 5 wraps) and if there was supposed to be some sort of fishysauce to accompany this, we didn’t get any. Overall, not bad, but pretty bland. The rice was also pretty bland, save the large chunks of garlic. Two small overcooked short rib strips adorned the top.

From the time we received our last dish until the time we received the check, no one came by. I saw that other tables had some sort of tabletop condiment. Not on our table. After we were done eating, a small crowd developed outside, and we would have left, but no one cared to stop by our table, so we just sipped on the end of our wine as we were in no rush and figured if they didn’t want to stop by and see if we needed anything else or wanted our check so they could fill the table with people waiting outside, we weren’t going to prompt them. Duration of this - about a half hour.

The food was not far off from being good. Had I known that they were now cooking “chile-free” (or so it seemed - not the slightest bit of discernable heat in anything, even the Hue dumpling sauce which had what appeared to be chile bits), I’d have spoken up when ordering.

The wine was delicious.