This isn’t your average Vietnamese restaurant tucked into the corner of suburban strip mall. Colleen O’Hare and Jeana Johnson have created something new and exciting in their East Dallas restaurant Mot Hai Ba. Before opening it, the two traveled to Vietnam twice. The first trip caused them to fall in love with the country’s complex cooking, while the second was used to research many of the dishes you’ll find on their menu. Market crab is a messy number but worth the dry-cleaning bill, and market fish flavored with dill and ginger and yellowed with turmeric is just as good. The green papaya salad dressed in lime and chili is garnished with tiny shards of beef jerky for salt and texture. Order the imperial spring roll or the crispy pancake stuffed with shrimp that for once is not oily and quite crisp. Both are served with green lettuce leaves and a mixture of herbs that rival the wilted selection at an Asian grocery and taste more alive. You may not recognize your surroundings, but the flavors you’re experiencing undeniably conjure the heart of Vietnamese cooking.