Lido Restaurant

Should I wear this
T-shirt? Can anybody name a Jonas Brothers song? Did you smell that?

And yet, when I asked
people what they like at Lido Restaurant, one of Oklahoma City’s oldest
Vietnamese restaurants, they spoke as one in a voice that could shatter
mountains: They said unto me, “Yea, Greg, get the vermicelli bowl. Be it
chicken, pork or fried spring roll,
verily, thou shalt say, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty good.’”

They spake it true.
Honestly, I’ve been to Lido a number of times over the years, and I
just never found for myself a dish that I was excited to get again.
Granted, I was ordering off the Chinese menu, which is fine — but that’s
not why you go to a Vietnamese restaurant.

time, armed with the knowledge from Twitter, I finally ordered
correctly. We started with fried dumplings ($4.55) that were pretty
good, but kind of paled to the big boost of flavor in the hot-andsour
soup ($3.95, bowl). It’s so nice to go someplace where they do it right.
The soup was hot; it was a little sour. But mostly, it was delicious.
Served on a cold, rainy day, it instantly went to work warming my body
and waking my taste buds.

Hot-and-sour soup, vermicelli bowl and spring rolls at Lido

My friends and I got
vermicelli bowls, which come with a variety of toppings. While one
friend went with fried spring rolls ($3.95) another got the chicken
($3.35), I decided on the “KFC Famous Bowl” of vermicelli: the
combination ($10.95). It had beef; it had chicken; it had shrimp and
pork and a fried spring roll.

And one look at that meaty mess and Lido had me.

bowls can be all mixed up, but it doesn’t mean a mélange of overlapping
flavors. At its heart, the vermicelli bowl is about tender noodles,
crisp cucumber, mint and bean sprouts. Pour over the mild, slightly
orange nuoc nam (fish sauce) and it all comes together.

the gluttonous sort, I also wanted to try the “Vietnamese curry beef
(hot),” because I like almost everything in that title (except for
parentheses, which I hate using even now). The flavor was nice — sweet
of the coconut milk, green curry and little bites of beef — but I don’t
understand in what world this is considered “hot.”

There’s plenty more to the menu, hummus but I feel like most of it can be had elsewhere with better results. The pho I had at Lido lacked both the
temperature and punch I find at Pho Lien Hoa and Pho Thai Nguyen. The
dumplings were good, but I think Grand House does them better.

that sounds like I’m picking on Lido, I don’t mean to. Honestly, I’m
just glad my Lido losing streak is over. I’d always wondered what it is
that made this a must-stop for so many Oklahomans, and now I know — the
vermicelli bowls are top-notch and their hot-and-sour soup is the best
I’ve had.

And it’s those that will bring me back again. Yea. Verily.

Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive
aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or
service when appropriate.

Photo by Shannon Cornman

Greg Elwell

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