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Eagle Rock's Blue Hen Gets Pecked at Dinnertime

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LAist needs to admit from the get-go that we know little to nothing about Vietnamese food. We know it's typically fresher and lighter than other Asian cuisines, and that it is flavored to varying degrees with herbs like mint, basil,and ginger and spices like curry and chili. So in seeking out somewhere new to try on a night when lighter, tasty fare was on the agenda, we stumbled on Eagle Rock's Blue Hen, a nouveau Vietnamese eatery with an emphasis on fresh, organic ingredients served in a funky environment. And so our introduction to Vietnamese food began.

We began the meal with drinks and appetizers. Blue Hen does not serve alcohol, so we opted to taste their home made lime soda and some hot tea, both of which were served promtly and quenched our thirst. We sampled two appetizers from their very small menu: the Hand Cut Turmeric Fries and the Fresh Spring Rolls. The fries were piping hot, thin branch-like sticks of russet and Japanese sweet potatoes, and came dusted in spices, with a fish sauce on the side; the sweet potatoes in particular had a light but woodsy flavor, and the sauce gave the dish a nice sweetness for balance. The fresh spring rolls were modestly stuffed with rice noodles, veggies, and chicken, and came with a rich, sweet, peanut sauce for liberally dipping.

For our main course, we tried the Mama Luu's Tofu, which is crispy organic tofu stir fried in a light, savory sauce (the fish sauce, our inexperienced palate surmised) and topped with scallions. We also tried a chicken curry, which was mellow and not too heavily spiced; while the curry was by all means mild and unassuming, it was the tenderness of the chicken that was so remarkable--it nearly melted in our mouth! Both entrees came with market greens--in this case a sauteed green we learned was a taller, stalkier relative of the bok choy--and rice (we opted to pay the 50 cents extra for brown rice). By the time we finished we noticed that the place was almost entirely full, and that the one poor server was running around (like a Blue Hen with her head cut off, if you will) trying to tend to everyone's needs. She explained that she didn't normally work alone, which made it was understandable that it took ages for her to take care of our bill. While the LA Weekly's review earlier this year wasn't overly kind to the Blue Hen, we found ourselves more forgiving. Call it lack of experience, call it an appreciation of fresh ingredients, or call it just time well spent in good company in a new place--but we rather liked the Blue Hen. Eagle Rock is in dire need of new dining options, and we're happy to have found this one. We're ready to tackle more Vietnamese food, though... perhaps the well-reputed Golden Deli will be next!

Blue Hen 1743 Colorado Boulevard, Eagle Rock (323) 982-9900