Good to go is a column where our food writers explore Dallas' restaurant scene through takeout orders, delivery boxes and reheated leftovers.
In 2017, critic Brian Reinhart raved
about the wonderful Vietnamese food we could get at Lá Me Restaurant in Northeast Dallas.
Three years and a pandemic later, we thankfully can still get these flavors, ones that easily transport in Styrofoam boxes to go.
Starting out with the egg rolls is not only a safe choice, but it should be a requirement ($6 for five). In full disclosure, we broke open the box holding these like we were kids getting into the fries of a McDonald’s bag. Pro tip: Speed bumps in the shopping center where Lá Me is are not messing around, wait to open the accompanying sauce while the car’s moving here.
"I know those egg rolls anywhere," Brian Reinhart replied when I texted him a photo of Lá Me's.
Both freshly consumed and enjoyed 15 minutes later, these egg rolls are crisp and flavorful. A few foods are acceptable if they leave a trace of grease on the lips after a bite, and these fall into that category (along with pork rinds, if you’re curious).
The standard cóm bò lú lác is one dish that holds up in texture and flavor for your trip home or to the park ($11). The shaken beef, marinated in rice vinegar, soy and fish sauces before it’s stir-fried, sits atop perfectly steamed rice alongside bright punches of red and green onion.
I may have buried the lede in this article: Get tamarind juice.
There’s a whole section for vermicelli bowls, where you have plenty of options for protein. Get a wide selection in the special bowl, which comes with shrimp patty, grilled shrimp, grilled pork, shredded pork skin and egg rolls ($10.50). The shrimp patty can be off-putting for some, but I enjoy the chewy bulk of shrimp meat, more so than the simply grilled shrimp.
The grilled pork is heavenly — a touch sweet and tender. This plate comes with more egg rolls — sitting on top of vermicelli does no favors for the crisp exterior of these, so don’t think you can skip your appetizer order of them just because you get this plate.
I like to order in person at Lá Me. That way it’s pretty much necessary to have a drink while you wait for the food. Try the cafe sua dá; iced French drip coffee should only be consumed with condensed milk ($3). For something different, go for the tamarind juice (nuoc me dam dá); it's full of flavor, sweet and juicy with halves of peanuts ($3.50).
The special vermicelli
Even if you have to drive 30 minutes to get there, the meal you take away is worth it. After our recent visit, we stopped at Flag Pole Hill, which is about 15 minutes south of the restaurant. Covered picnic tables with a pleasant breeze made it a fine spot to eat, even in 91 degrees.
The paper menu we took with us has 126 items, outside specials, party orders, sides and add-ons. It could make one wonder how long it would take to eat it all, and we’re tempted to find out for ourselves.
Lá Me Restaurant, 9780 Walnut St., Suite 140 (Northeast Dallas). Open for takeout and limited dine-in 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. 972-669-8515.