I don’t ever remember leaving a restaurant and thinking I didn’t pay enough for the meal. But that’s exactly what happens after a recent dinner at Mi La Cay in Wheaton. I’m here with bloggers Laura Kumin of Mother Would Know and Jennifer Farley of Savory Simple. It’s one of those nights where I can be unfettered in indulging my food desires. I love nights like these.
Mi Li Cay, a Vietnamese restaurant in a small strip center near the intersection of Georgia Avenue and University Boulevard, is only a few miles from my home. It’s in the category of restaurants on my to do list that I keep setting aside. This is primarily because Mi La Cay is situated among a treasure trove of ethnic restaurants, including my favorites Ren’s Ramen and Thai Taste by Kob.
Nearly two years ago Todd Kliman of Washingtonian named the curry soup with chicken “The Best Thing I Ate This Week.” I will dub it my favorite dish of the month. The soup bursts forth with flavor and heat. Its distinguished by a rich broth laden with pieces of chicken, chunks of curried pumpkin, and crunchy bean sprouts. Weeks later I can close my eyes and conjure up the flavors. This wondrous bowl of soup calls out to me as I write these words, and I’m consulting my calendar to plot a return visit.
Papaya salad with grilled shrimp has quite the kick. We’re all compelled to dive back for more of this vibrant dish with its lingering spice.
Despite a pleasant dipping sauce, the slight over-cooking of the crispy Maryland chicken with tomato rice prevents the dish from being as rave-worthy as the others.
My dining companions are so taken with the food at Mi La Cay that they each return days later with husbands in tow. Says Jennifer:
On both visits I ordered the pork bánh mì and it was by far my favorite item on the menu. The meat was incredibly flavorful, the bread was good quality and the vegetables and cilantro were very fresh and light. It was the perfect sandwich. Other highlights include the spicy papaya salad and the curry chicken soup with vermicelli noodles. The only disappointing menu item for me was the roasted quail, which I tried on my second visit. The meat was dry and the pepper sauce was overwhelming.
Mi La Cay – a restaurant that motivates diners to return days later for more food- is certainly praise-worthy. The fact that we would be willing to pay more for the food…that says it all.
Mi La Cay, 2407 University Blvd, W, Wheaton, MD