Truc Orient Express Vietnamese Restaurant.
3 Harris St., West Stockbridge. Tel. 413-232-4204
All Credit Cards Accepted
Open for Dinner 5 to 9 PM
Vietnamese food is what makes my life worth living. It forms the bulk of my diet (seemingly) back home in Sacramento, and it's what I miss most when I'm up here in New England. So I when I heard there was a Vietnamese restaurant near me in West Stockbridge, I absolutely had to go - damn the drive! I shanghaied some friends into visiting with me and away we went.
It took a bit of effort to find the place, but we were rewarded: the interior is lovely, built inside what seems to be an old farmhouse. The soothing, richly lit wooden room is a wonderful place to sit and relax, aided by the romantic scent of Vietnamese incense in the air. And after subsisting on dining hall food for a while, one really grows to appreciate a candle and a snappy white tablecloth.
But what about the food?
The menu features a wide assortment of traditional Vietnamese dishes. We began with the Shrimp Summer Rolls ($6.95.) These were big, plump, fresh and absolutely fabulous - one of the best renditions I've ever had. Scallion and a bit of jalapeno even gave them a spicy and seductive kick. Dip them in the silky smooth peanut sauce and you have entered spring roll Nirvana.
We moved on to main courses, sharing the Char-broiled Pork over Rice Noodles ($17.95), the Shaking Beef ($18.95), and the Hanoi Style Fish. ($20.95)
The pork was served on a bed of rice noodle cakes, with shaved carrot, peanut, and a bit of green sauce on top. The pork was thin, tender, and expertly cooked, juxtaposed well with the soft noodles.
The beef was flavorful and tender, with the silky texture you expect from really high quality meat. This was served in a rich and juicy sauce on top of a bed of watercress, which soaked up all the liquid....yummy. This went fast.
Finally, the fish was served in a big hot pot with lots of peanut, dill, onion, and lemongrass. This had a fresh, wonderful dill flavor, and flaked deliciously on the plate. Served over rice noodles, it's a great light dish.
Service is excellent, and the friendly owner checked on us throughout our meal...he was very happy to find out we were from California. (And he complimented me on my spring roll eating form...hah!) Apparantly his son is a chef at San Francisco's Ana Mandera. Cool!
Truc is a wonderful option for fresh, high-quality, and super authentic Vietnamese food in a very unlikely location: the Berkshires. Please visit them often and give them all the business they deserve. Also check out the cool Vietnamese gift shop attached to the restaurant, selling all manner of Asian curios.