(Mekong has transitioned to a new owner in 2022) As a huge fan of Vietnamese cuisine, I’m always on the lookout for new restaurants in this category. And thankfully from S. Durham to Raleigh, you’ll find a good assortment of family-run Vietnamese restaurants. Recently a new spot hit my radar screen, Mekong out on TW Alexander Road in Morrisville! In reality, Mekong is so far north it’s virtually in Brier Creek, Raleigh but that shouldn’t stop you from coming in for a visit! Located in a spacious location previously holding a hibachi restaurant, Mekong is doing a lot of things right based on my first lunch visits.
As I stepped into Mekong, my first impressions were new, clean and modern which is the antithesis of what I would expect for a hole in the wall VN restaurant. The floor is nicely polished concrete with a handful of Vietnamese prints and decorations on the walls. For those unfamiliar with geography in Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is part of the southwestern tip of the country where the Mekong river empties into. Ahh, but we’re here for the food, amirite? I seat myself at a small two-top and am handed over a one-page, two-sided paper menu for the place. It has all the requisite categories of Vietnamese eats: appetizers, bun (vermicelli), com (rice), pho (soup), house specialties and banh mi (grinder) along with some specialties. The humble menu is a good sign, I like the fact that even if the place is newer, there’s no pretense or fanciness in the presentation.
A quick scan of Mekong’s menu shows a broad variety of dishes although not quite as deep as some other places with 6 to 8 items under each category. I quickly decide on the goi cuon (fresh spring rolls) or summer rolls in my book alonf with the shaken beef! The summer rolls come out pretty quickly, nicely sized rolls in that translucent rice paper. Mekong does a fantastic job here, they are well stuffed with plenty of shrimp, pork, vermicelli, cilantro and cucumber. The peanut sauce for dipping is a bit different here with a slightly sweeter tang to it. Love these rolls, they are well balanced in flavor and I will be back again for these delicious bad boys, soon!
My shaken beef entree comes out next and I am excited. This dish is officially named bo luc lac and it’s not common around here. The last time I remember trying it was in San Francisco at the famous Slanted Door restaurant and apparently it has French origins. In the case of Mekong, it’s pieces of filet steak marinated in a dark sauce (soy, fish sauce) and served with onions and some jasmine rice, yum! The beef here is tender and flavorful and while there may be a bit too much in the way of onions, it’s delicious. And thankfully I don’t have any face to face meetings when I get back to work for the afternoon…
Service at Mekong was solid and the place (unfortunately) was nearly empty during my visit. But I can tell you that the food here is quite good and I’m already planning my next visit to work a bit deeper into the menu and see what they’re really about! So if you’re a fan of Vietnamese food, put Mekong on your short list because in the arena of Vietnamese food in the Triangle, they are the best Vietnamese restaurant in the area. Bon appetit!