We remember Huynh when it was on Milam and called Pho Huynh. A different family owned it then, most famous for their banh uot (satiny steamed rice flour wrappers stuffed with dried shrimp or grilled pork, tinged with sweetness from honey). Like the old Huynh, the new Huynh excels with this dish. But the irony is banh uot isn’t Vietnamese. Its origin is Chinese, but the Vietnamese, particularly in the northern part of the country, have embraced it wholeheartedly.
Traditionally banh uot is eaten as a main course but here it’s served as an appetizer. Aesthetically, like all of Huynh’s dishes, the banh uot is beautifully presented. Its approach is sleekly modern, very minimalist, like the Japanese. This minimalism serves many of the dishes well, including the Cornish hen, flashfried to perfectly golden brown and served with special house rice, a fried egg and spicy pickled cabbage, or Korean kim chee. It’s also hard to go wrong with the banh cuon, the wrappers filled with either ground pork, fried shrimp, fried onions or chargrilled pork. The lime-infused sweetened fish sauce is outstanding.
The potent Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk is rich enough to substitute for dessert. But resist the temptation. Huynh has some lovely che (Vietnamese puddings). The suong sa hot luu is wonderfully lilting, with red pomegranate seed-shaped tapioca beads swirled in crushed ice, fresh coconut milk and unctuous bean paste.