I’ve heard many different things about Brodard, the large scale Vietnamese restaurant in Orange County, before setting off for SoCal. The unifying opinion though, was that their pork and shrimp spring rolls, Nem Nướng Cuốn and Chạo tôm cuốn respectively, are amazing appetizers that can sometimes outshine everything else on the exhaustive menu with over 100 different dishes to pick from. My friends and I decide to drop by on a busy Friday afternoon, and finally sit down in the large restaurant after queuing in line for fifteen minutes.
The restaurant buzzes with life. Large groups of friends and families chatter away as they eagerly dig into their food. Christmas garlands laden with colorful ornaments and bright lights sling down from the ceilings and a small but luminous tree hangs back quietly in the corner. Unlike the usual Vietnamese noodle house, Brodard’s interiors are polished without being uppity. The most novel part though, was the large kitchen equipped with an assembly line just for their spring rolls. The public opinion seems to ring true after all.
After browsing through the menu, we grab one of the many servers floating around the restaurant and order both the pork and shrimp spring rolls and Bún Thịt Nướng, the classic rice vermicelli dish topped with BBQ pork, crushed peanuts, julienned cucumbers, and shallots. The food came out fairly quickly, a definite plus in my book.
The spring rolls, wrapped in translucent rice paper and stuffed with a generous amount of crunchy lettuce, crisp daikon, cucumber, carrots, fresh mint, and pork or grilled shrimp paste, deserve to be called a meal of their own. The fried egg roll skin tucked between all the fillings was a pleasant surprise, and it gave all the textures an extra pop. The large rolls are filling, and it goes well with the tasteful, sweet house sauce provided. At one point, most of us used the rolls as a spoon to scoop the sauce.
Though both are equally delicious, I prefer the shrimp spring roll over the other, as I’ve never had spring rolls with grilled shrimp paste. Grilling gave the shrimp paste a distinct flavor through the charring and caramelization. The shrimp paste was soft in texture, but flavorful. In fact, I ordered an extra portion for my road trip to Vegas. The pork spring rolls are a tad dull when compared to the other ones I’ve had in the Bay Area, as Pho Ao Sen in Oakland (my favorite pho restaurant) tends to pack more ingredients in their rolls than Brodard. The noodles served with chili fish sauce is adequate, but it is nothing to write home about especially when the BBQ pork was thin and dry.
9892 Westminster Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92844