Xanh Restaurant is a trendy Vietnamese restaurant on Castro Street in downtown Mountain View. We walked there tonight for a late dinner and were very pleased. The place is hip and modern but serves traditional Vietnamese food. The decor is sleek and clean, and the setup is closer to a night club than to a restaurant. We got to sit outside; though it was a chilly night we kept warm next to the space heaters they had set up.
We started with the Glass Noodles with Dungeness Crab ($14): crab meat sauteed with cellophane noodles, scallions, shitake mushrooms, carrots, and fried shallots.
The crab was delicious, but the rest of the dish was rather plain. The lime juice added a much-needed kick. Though it looks small, once it was out of the cup it became much bigger. The crab was really the star of this plate, and I think there were other noodle dishes on the menu that might have been more exciting.
Next we got the… Papaya Salad ($10)! As usual, this dish was best part of the meal. Poached shrimp, green papaya, carrots, mango, cilantro, mint, and fried shallots topped with crushed peanuts and a light vinaigrette – it was perfect. I’ve never had mango in papaya salad but I absolutely loved it. This plate was fresh, clean, and fabulous.
We also got the Traditional Roll ($9): poached shrimp, rice noodles, green apple, lettuce, cilantro, mint, cucumber, and crispy shallots served with peanut sauce. This simple roll was light and refreshing, and the peanut sauce was smooth and sweet.
We passed on dessert; they had various sorbettos and mousses, and a particularly interesting Pumpkin Gelato inside a real pumpkin shell – but we were pretty full – maybe next time.
Overall I would recommend Xanh if you’re a fan of fresh, clean food and a stylish setting. There are many healthy options on the menu and most of the dishes can be made vegetarian on request. I’m looking forward to going back to try their other salads (grapefruit looked good), noodles, and soups. It’s not too expensive compared to other restaurants in the area, and the food plus the great service are well worth it. Throughout the meal the servers were very attentive and polite; they seemed happy and eager to help all of the guests.