1914 by Kolben

1914 slipped under the radar. I’ve never even noticed their storefront, and it is by all means walking distance from my house. I still haven’t, actually. We ordered Grubhub. Before I get to the food, though, let’s start with the name: who is Kolben? Why does he/she have a decidedly Vietnamese restaurant with such a not-Vietnamese name? Why did he/she need to include the name on the restaurant? It’s a little uncomfortable, to be honest.

We started with the waffle egg rolls and their signature iced tea. More than being egg rolls, this is really just some long shrimp dipped in a crispy, flaky crust and served with spicy mayo, the king of mayos. I was hooked from the first bite.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a Thai or Vietnamese iced tea so I might be misremembering, or maybe they were having an off night. Their signature tea was a bit of a disappointment–overly sweet missing some punch from the tea. My husband drank most of it to save me from regrets. Iced tea pictured is actual size.

After much deliberation, my husband had told me to surprise him with the banh mi of my choosing, so I nabbed the Hanoi meatball flavor. It was packed full of meat and veggies, a good size for a meal on its own, and the meatballs had the subtle fruity sweetness of hoisin sauce, which kept it interesting. It was delicious, save for needing some mayo or sauce, an issue I’m sure would be remedied if dining at the actual restaurant. Definitely a triumph. Would order again.

Finally, we come to my bún thit nuong, BBQ pork with rice vermicelli.

Mmmm yes! Fresh veggies and mint, pickled carrot and daikon, light fish sauce dressing, and–obviously–a generous helping of sweet, savory, charred BBQ pork. This was perfect and exactly what I needed. I’m still thinking about the perfect, crisp morsels of pork.

Price: $15 per person.

Bottom line: Despite a limited menu (especially for a Vietnamese restaurant), 1914 delivers (literally and figuratively). I will be eating here again soon, and eating at the actual restaurant…eventually.

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