John Curtas is …


How do we say this delicately?

We think most Vietnamese food was conceived on a dare. It defeats us from the first bite.

Rubbery, tasteless pork roll, strange, gristle-laden beef meat from somewhere around a steer’s head, bread-like substances studded with beans…if it wasn’t for the pickled vegetables, nothing would have any taste at all.

What’s not disgusting is tasteless and what’s not tasteless is disgusting. And by “disgusting” we don’t mean stomach wrenching…just a lot of cheap, offal-ly innocuous ingredients that add up to a big zero.

Who in the world thought this stuff up?

There’s no sense and no flavor to banh mi sandwiches, and the only thing they have going for them is that they’re cheap.

And the bread is pretty good….as are those lightly pickled vegetables.

As for our recent House Special – banh cuon dac biet combo platter — it was an unmitigated disaster. We almost broke a tooth biting into something that looked like a jumble of deep fried carrots into which a stray, rock-hard shrimp had been tossed, and underneath that was a hush-puppy-like thing that could give WonderBread a run for its money….except this one was studded with lentils. Bean-y tasteless starch rolled into tasteless bread — an idea whose time should never come.

But in Vietnamese food, those bland on bland hits just keep on comin’.

Large white, rice noodles encase weird (again tasteless) orange stuff — carrots or shrimp paste we couldn’t tell — and our taste buds couldn’t tell either, and a pork mushroom flower roll (bahn cuon nhan thit) that didn’t bother leaving mush-room for the essence of either.

Maybe you need to be enduring a sweltering summer in the Mekong Delta to appreciate this food.

We just don’t get it. Probably never will.

To be fair, lots of people like this place, and the management is friendly and accommodating to poor lost souls like us and folks who know this food backwards….and love it still.

But we’ve eaten here half a dozen times (and at a couple of other banh mi joints around town), and what there is to love, or even like about this “cuisine” is something we shall ponder no longer.

Life is too short.


5115 Spring Mountain Road #223

Las Vegas, NV 89146



  • Sweet!!!!!

    Hate Rules!

  • Oh, no! Hell to the no! Did I hear Mr. ELV diss Vietnamese cuisine?

    I think you just need to try some real Vietnamese food. So far I haven’t found much of anything here in Vegas, so perhaps Mr. Max needs to take you to Orange County to try some of the real stuff in Little Saigon… Or perhaps a little hole in the wall in Laguna Hills that serves the best breakfast around.

    So does anyone know a decent Vietnamese place here? Or do we have to send Mr. ELV to OC to do some research? :-)

  • John After that epic high food journal, Vietnam FRENCH SANDWICHES!!! AND FAMOUS LOL!!!! VIVA LAS VEGAS

  • To be perfectly frank, here in The OC (just a Nem Nướng Cuốn throw away from Little Saigon) the best “Bánh mì” usually consists of crispy, light, freshly-made baguettes and bargain basement prices, that’s it … the ingredients therein are generally only secondary … perhaps tertiary even. Come on, how much can you vary pickled ______ (fill in the blank)_____? They are, however, PHENOMENALLY better than anything an angry cook employed by a fast food restaurant chain could possibly throw at me overhand.

  • I’ve had this on my list of places to try for a long time now. But after looking at some of those pictures, I’m reconsidering. Exactly what kind of meat is that on the sandwich?!?!

  • A local took me to this place when I first moved here 5 years ago raving that I must try this little jade gem she found on Spring Mountain, I have not been back. However, I did remember the two things you brought up about the price being low and that the bread was good. It is fast food.

    I was really bummed when I saw you did not write the Hot Dog article for the Las Vegas Weekly this week, because I knew I would be in for a laugh from your wit on this particular subject; maybe you did not want to subject to a gastro intestinal insult.

  • You should give the Bahn Mi sandwhiches at Lemongrass Cafe on Eastern a try- the best $3.75 Lunch in the city

  • Hi! This is my first time on your blog. Got some good info here. I am trying to track down a rumor I keep running into. I have read the Chinese government had a clandestine lab near Stung Treng. They were supposedly working on some hallucinogenic drug like acid that made you think you were having an out of body experience. Anyone have any info about it?

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