Rice Paper Bistro
1548 N Vasco Rd
Livermore, CA 94551
As I continue The Great Livermore Restaurant Challenge where I find and try every restaurant in Livermore, I find that new places just seem to keep popping up all over town.
Rice Paper Bistro just opened up a couple of months ago and I just had to stop by to check it out. It’s a Vietnamese/Asian fusion restaurant located in the same building as Dickey’s BBQ Pit and Starbucks.
The first thing that you’ll notice when you enter is the fresh interior. Everything is new and they didn’t skimp on cheap furniture, that’s for sure. The tables are dark and robust and the benches are huge. With a splash of red paint on the walls the style is warm, inviting, but also has a modern touch to it.
The second thing you’ll notice is the three big LCD TV’s hanging behind the counter. Unfortunately they don’t use them to show A’s or Giant’s games. They do use them as their menu though. The high-tech touch reminds us that we’re in the 21st century.
As you might gather from the menu, you order at the counter and have a seat. I’m glad the service didn’t stop there as the staff was very friendly and made sure we were taken care of during the course of our meal.
The menu is simple and well-organized which makes ordering easy, even for the indecisive customer. I went for the Pho “Saigon” Beef ($9.00) which has a mix of rare steak, meat balls and brisket. My wife Andrea went for the Grilled Lemongrass Pork with Rice ($9.00). We also split an order of Saigon Spring Rolls ($5.00). To quench our thirst she had a Coke ($2.00) and I had the Passion Fruit Tea ($3.00) which I highly recommend!
So how is the food you ask?
Well, I’m still a noob when it comes to Vietnamese food as I’ve only had it a few times in my life (Gasp! I know right, that’s why I’m going this challenge). But the first thought that comes to mind after eating here is “fresh and healthy.”
The spring rolls were much bigger than I expected. Filled with rice, shrimp, lettuce and cucumber, I couldn’t help but think how fresh and healthy it tasted. The dipping sauce was also a perfect complement to the appetizer.
Andrea’s Grilled Lemongrass Pork had a lot of flavor. It was sweet with a salty touch, but not overly so. The side of rice had a green onion mix and she really liked the salad as it was crunchy highlighting the fresh theme we felt here.
My Pho “Saigon” Beef was very refreshing. It had a lighter flavor compared to the Pho I had at Saigon Café [TGLRC #1], but the meat was tender and it felt like a very healthy meal. As I got halfway through my pho, I experimented by mixing some of the “hot” sauce in with it. It didn’t take to realize that I didn’t have my handkerchief handy and had to ask for extra napkins.
My biggest takeaway wasn’t the food, since we ate it all, but how healthy and fresh our meal was. The veggies were super fresh, crisp and nothing was overly seasoned. Here you’re meant to taste all the ingredients for what they are. And they do a great job at fusing it all together to give you a nice meal.
If you’re looking for some healthy Asian fusion cuisine, head over to Rice Paper Bistro and welcome them to Livermore. It’s great food. Tell them Livermore Rocks! sent you!