Saturday, October 30, 2010

Xyclo: Chic Vietnamese in Oakland

Saturday Date Night: October 30, 2010 @ 5:15 PM

No thanks to a seafood restaurant in SF on Friday night, at 1 AM Saturday morning I was fully awake with a case of food poisoning. (I'll spare you the details.)

For Saturday Date Night, I told Enrique that we had to have dinner as close as possible to the house and I needed a hot steaming bowl of soup, preferably Asian. (I was still feeling icky from the night before.)

Prior to this dinner, I wrote Xyclo off as a fru-fru overpriced "Americanized" Vietnamese fusion restaurant. It took one food poisoning experience from another eatery for me to try it.

Xyclo is definitely a notch above your mom and pop Vietnamese restaurant. However, it is still a neighborhood place and service was very down-to-earth. Decor was chic Asian which reminded me of the neon-lit modern restaurants in Singapore. "East meets West" decor of Asian artwork on bright-colored walls was the theme of this place. The cuisine is indeed fusion.

To qualm my sick tummy, I ordered these as soon as we sat down:

A) POT OF CHRYSANTHEMUM TEA $3: Nice floral tea that came in an Asian teapot. Tea was strong by a little lukewarm. Still refreshing none the less.

B) SWEET AND SOUR SOUP $7: Fish, pineapple, celery, tomato and Asian dill in a sweet and sour broth
This soup should be renamed "Very Sweet and Sour Soup." Generous portion with nice chunks of fish that tasted fresh and not fishy. I loved it despite the sweetness and started to make my tummy feel better. Best to eat while still hot. This alone filled me up.

We ordered everything a la carte and was served to us family-style:

C) CRISPY SHRIMP ROLL $9: Fried shrimp and taro wrapped in rice paper and nuoc cham.
Reall good and dense fried rolls. Steaming hot and so yummy!

D) HERBED GARLIC NOODLES $7: Big portion for being a side dish. Delicious, chewy and garlicky.

E) XYCLO CHILI RIBS $15: Crispy pork ribs, peanut, sesame seed and mixed herb glazed in sweet chili sauce
My seafoodtarian self did not try these but these ribs were heavy and humongous that Enrique had a hard time picking them up with his chopsticks. They were crispy on the outside and very tender on the inside. However, he whispered to me that it tasted "fishy." (As a disclaimer, he hates fish sauce.)

F) CLAYPOT RICE MEDLEY $15: - prawns, chicken breast, broccoli, bell pepper, mushroom, cauliflower, bok choy, zucchini and rice; slow cooked in a clay pot $15
The dish arrived in a hot claypot. Even minutes later after blowing on each spoonful of the dish, it was still very hard to eat because of the temperature. On top of me already full from the soup and the shrimp roll. When I ate it at home it was very sweet, once again. This dish is okay-just a very sweet garden-variety stir-fried dish in a pot. Not worth the $15 price tag.

DOWNSIDE: The dishes are sweet and after a while tasted all the same.

OVERALL: Despite the sweetness of the dishes, Xyclo made a fan out of me. Not only the decor was nice and swanky but the presentation of each dish was very pleasing to the eyes. I really want to go back to grab a drink and nosh on those hot, fried shrimp rolls again!

Tab: $76 including a Diet Coke, tax and 20 percent tip.

Food: 4
Decor/Ambiance: 4.5
Service: 4


0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Very disappointing but there it has some good things to offer.
3 Stars: It is okay but do not expect much. I will still return.
4 Stars: I like it! I will be singing your praises!
5 Stars: I will be dreaming of you at night!
6 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)

Xyclo Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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