Local food quester Ian McNulty recently took a jaunt over to the family-run Thanh Truc Bistro, a modest little Vietnamese cafe and bakery tucked into a sleepy shopping village of Kenner strip malls. He writes that he arrived determined to give Thanh Truc the ol' pho litmus test that so many of our greater metro area's fine Vietnamese establishments seem to pass with flying colors, but then he caught sight of the alluring bakery case and it was game over:
It's the bakery on premises, however, and the unexpected ways Thanh Truc uses it that set this place apart. Contemporary American kolaches can appear in any number of shapes and sizes. At Thanh Truc, they're palm-sized domes of yeasty, slightly sweet bread, almost like brioche, filled with jellied fruit, cream cheese or breakfast combos like eggs and sausage. They cost $1 to $2 and they're quickly heated in the microwave, so they're just right for a snack or hand-held breakfast on the run.
Oh, and the pho at Thanh Truc is pretty good, too. Owners Ngoc To and Bach Nguyen made their leap from a corner store in the St. Bernard housing project to Kenner after Katrina, but, as McNulty observes, their restaurant's baking enterprise is still on the small side. If you're hankering for some breakfast kolaches, however, Thanh Truc definitely serves up some off-the-beaten-trail baked goods.
· Review: Thanh Truc Bistro [Gambit]