For a while I have been wanting to dine at Zadin in San Francisco. They're located in a quiet section of the Castro district. It's a small, family-owned Vietnamese restaurant, that lists gluten free options right on the regular menu. While the menu is only 1 page, you really do not need more options because everything sounded really tasty. Mike really loved the place because they were playing the "chill station" off of XM radio, and it was the perfect selection of tunes to accompany the mellow lighting and tinted glass backdrops. And since it was night and dim inside, please excuse the muted pictures; it was the best we could do.
We couldn't help but order an appetizer because there were gluten free options listed. We decided on the imperial roll, which was filled with "shrimp, pork, glass noodles, wood ear mushrooms, taro, jicama, carrots, and shallots wrapped in rice paper then fried until golden and crispy. Wrap the rolls with the lettuce and herbs provided." We both really enjoyed this dish, Mike slightly more than I. It was crispy on the outside, and soft and tasty on the inside. I do, however, want to try the Salt and Pepper Calamari they offer next time. And yes that's gluten free, too.
For the main course, Mike ordered the gluten free version of Bo Luc Lac: Shaken Beef. "Filet mignon cubes, wok-seared medium rare with red onions, scallions, and garlic. Served on a bed of spring mix and topped with yam fries." He pretty much durlled over the beef, as it was "the best ever," and "cooked to perfection." I do have to agree, the beef was great, and the yam fries were delicious.
I ordered the gluten free version of Pho Ap Chao: Pan Fried Pho Noodles. "Shrimp and chicken sautéed in a mildly spicy sauce with mixed vegetables served on wedges of Pho noodles pan-fried until edges are golden and crispy." The Pho Noodles is something I had never had before, and oddly it reminded me off grilled cheese. Now hear me out on this one. The outside was slightly sweet and greasy like the bread of the grilled cheese, and the center of the noodle was soft and gooey, like the cheese of a grilled cheese. Weird comparison, but that's what it reminded me of, and I liked it. The chicken and shrimp of the dish were cooked to perfection, and the sauce was just had a hint of spice. Overall it was an excellent dish.
And as if we didn't already have enough food, we could not help but eat dessert. They had two dessert options that were gluten free, both of which included the base of the dessert from Mariposa Bakery. We opted for the Mariposa brownie with coconut ice cream, and man oh man, that coconut ice cream was so smooth, and yet had chunks of coconut right in it. It truly was some of the best dairy-containing ice cream I've ever had. The brownie itself was crisp on the outside but soft and slightly fudgy on the inside.
It was a good thing we had to walk uphill to the parked car after the dinner, because man oh man we were full after this meal, but it was seriously $50 well spent. I wish Sacramento had some great food like this, but next time I go to the city, I just may have to visit Zadin again.