Mot Hai Ba
Dallas, TX 75206
- open 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday.
- Wheelchair accessible
- Lunch, Dinner
This isn’t your average Vietnamese restaurant tucked into the corner of a 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. On the first trip they fell in love with the country’s complex cooking, and the second was spent researching many of the dishes you’ll find on their menu. Now they’ve hired chef Peja Krstic to head up the kitchen, and his work has kept the dining room teeming with regular customers.
Grilled mackerel doesn’t show up on neighborhood menus that often. Here it’s topped with a savory tomato sauce and Vietnamese cilantro. A leek is turned into a tube for steaming crab meat and rice. 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 is instead quite crisp. Both are served with green lettuce leaves and a mixture of herbs that rival the selection at an Asian grocery but taste more alive. You may not recognize your surroundings, but the flavors you experience will conjure the heart of Vietnamese cooking.
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