A sure-fire cure for dinner-table boredom lies within easy reach at Kim Son (49 Whitney Ave, Gretna, LA; 504.366.2489). Bo 7 mon, a traditional Vietnamese feast, showcases beef in seven different preparations. Kim Son offers a classic beef-seven-ways dinner, a feast reportedly devised in 1950s Phu Nhuan, Vietnam, by an enterprising, French-trained female chef. (Her great-grandchildren operate the Ahn Hong restaurants in the US.)
The seven courses are pictured above, left to right.
- bo nung dam (beef fondue in vinegar; accompanied by herbs, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and rice papers)
- bo nuong vi (grilled beef; cooked on a hot rock with sesame & soy)
- bo nuong la lot (leaf-bounded beef; sausages wrapped in greens)
- bo cuon hanh huong (char broiled onion beef roll; thin slices wrapped around green onions)
- bo nuong xa (charbroiled beef; seasoned with lemongrass)
- bo tai chanh (medium beef with lemon; rare beef covered in chopped herbs, peanuts, and paper-thin sliced lemons)
- chao bo (beef porridge; thick rice porridge ladled over shredded beef)
Bo tai chahn (course #6 of 7) proved to be dinner’s suprise hit: aggressively acidic, the lemony beef was balanced by the holy basil, cilantro, peanuts, and mint strewn atop. Simultaneously bright and beefy, it was the perfect foil for the final course of beef porridge. The beef spread is great fun at around $15 per person (though it must be ordered for two).