Upscale Vietnamese cuisine in a historic location, Brett Davis visits Quan BOC.

Upscale Vietnamese cuisine in a historic location, Brett Davis visits Quan BOCThe historic courtyard at 74 Hai Ba Trung has seen a lot of different tenants over the years, and the newest on the scene is BOC, which specializes in Vietnamese cuisine and craft beer.

It says a lot about both the current elevation of Vietnamese food and the growth of the craft beer movement in the country that this kind of place now exists.

The venue itself is striking with its adobe walls and curves suggesting something vaguely Mediterranean, perhaps Moroccan. Tables and chair are of sturdy dark wood and undergirded with solid cast-iron legs. Upstairs open up into a spacious terrace area with its own bar and a lovely view down onto the courtyard.

The menu boasts an extensive list of traditional snacks that are great for sharing over a few beers, think things like spicy fried chicken cartilage, crispy tofu with pork floss, and fried anchovies with cashews and peanuts.

Upscale Vietnamese cuisine in a historic location, Brett Davis visits Quan BOCThere is an impressive open grill running along one side of the lower floor where you can order semi-dried squid, shrimp, chicken or beef in green pepper sauce.

One of the most impressive things about the restaurant (even more so than the execution of the dishes, which is flawless) is the attention to detail and the creativity of the presentation. The adage that “first you eat with your eyes” is taken to heart here. Everything is plated to perfection and decorated with perfectly arranged with wisps of cress of sliced chili and edible flowers. The dishes just look gorgeous.

On our visit, we tried the Li Son garlic sprouts (79,000), goose breast with kai lan and oyster sauce (229,000), Hong Kong Style salt-roasted shrimp (199,000), and pork belly grilled with salt and chili (179,000). All were wonderful and bring me to my next point, namely that the portion sizes a very, very generous.

Craft beer enthusiasts need to know there are beers from 10 local breweries, eight of which are on tap and many more in bottles. There is also a solid list of spirits and a small selection of New World wines.

On top of everything else, the friendly and efficient staff make it a place I’ll be sure to return.