Tet à Tet

Ringing in the Year of the Rat at Sakyo

Sakyo has many other Vietnamese dishes to recommend it beyond pho. There's the crepe stuffed with bean sprouts, cilantro, and shrimp, banh xeò, for $7.95, frilly and brown around the edges. Sùòn sakyo, deep fried ribs, have a lovely crust, like the thinnest, salty caramel shell over luscious baby-back meat; they're $6.25. Pint-sized Vietnamese fried egg rolls, chä giò, crumble into flakes of buttery deliciousness when you bite into them; they're stuffed with strips of hot ground pork and shredded carrot. Spring rolls encase cold ingredients — herbs and sprouts, pork, shrimp, rice noodles — in pleasantly rubbery rice paper wrapping and come with a sweet, brown hoisin dipping sauce. Each is $2.95.

Apart from the pho, my favorite entrées included a plate of large shrimp sautéed in their shells, tôm rang muôi, for $14.95. The chef prepares these with a special blend of coarse salts that make the shrimp shells airy and brittle; you eat them whole without peeling, and they retain juice and flavor. Bò hoäc heo xäo sä ot, chicken lemongrass dinner, $9.95, was paired with chicken meat, sliced thin and cooked until it took on a frilly profile, with lemongrass, jalapeños, chili peppers, white onions, and scallions sautéed in chili sauce and served with rice. Bun thit nuóng cha giò bi ($8.75) tossed bits of fried pork, shredded pork skin, and sliced fried egg rolls, plus the super-slender, transparent vermicelli called rice stick, in a sweet-and-sour fish sauce with hot peppers for $8.75.

I wasn't as bowled over by a combination dish of pork, crab, shrimp, and noodles served with a cup of broth on the side (hù tiêu, $7.75); you can eat it dry or pour on the broth and have it damp, though there's not enough liquid to make it truly soup-like. It was tepid in temperature, and imitation crab is a culturally acquired enthusiasm. The thin and curly egg noodles, though, reminiscent of ramen, had a mysterious flavor, like the deepest recesses of a Chinese grocery store. I had some reservations too about a beef stew with rice noodles, phò bò kho: heartier than the pho, with big chunks of stewed brisket and slightly mushy carrots, the stew tasted like what a mom anywhere might whip up in the crock pot on nights when dinner's an afterthought. But I'm looking forward to trying whole grilled fish sweet and sour, snapper in caramelized sauce, and sweet-and-sour pork ribs with pineapple, celery, and cucumber.

Joe Rocco

Location Info

Map

Sakyo Vietnamese japanese Restaurant

4931 okeechobee blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33417

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: West Palm Beach

Details

Sakyo Japanese and Vietnamese Restaurant, 4931 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Open for lunch 11:30 a.m. till 2:30 p.m., dinner 5 till 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday till 11 p.m. Call 561-616-5744.

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I have yet to try the sushi and Japanese menu, but it's extensive. Fried soft-shell crab, yellowtail jaw, and fried tuna with eel sauce appear as appetizers. For entrées, there's a whole bunch of tempuras, which are advertised as their specialty, as well as katsu and teriyaki with stir-fried lobster and scallops, among other yummies. Sakyo offers lots of specialty rolls, including hand rolls, as well as the chirashi, tekka don, and unagi don I used to love when Yoko was running the place: plain raw fish over vinegar rice, a supper as understated and elegant as the lady herself. But for this month, anyway, I'll be celebrating Tet with my own tête poised over a bowl of beef noodles.

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