The Boston Phoenix December 28, 2000 - January 4, 2001

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V. Majestic

Asian food fit for a king

by Nina Willdorf

on the cheap
  • Rod Dee II December 21
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  • Thai Place November 16
  • Two steps in the door, and we were verbally assaulted by a small, energetic man. It was a jarring beginning -- and a good sign. Turned out he was our waiter and chef, and we gathered that he was saying something like "Take a seat" or "Welcome." We took the barrage as the first promising clue that the food at this no-frills "Vietnamese-Chinese-American-Seafood" restaurant in Allston would be authentic, cheap, and delicious. The second clue was that Big Burrito's nondescript, easily missed neighbor was packed by 7 p.m. on a cold Monday evening.

    We weren't quite sure what to expect from the promised medley of cuisines. The selections seemed like Vietnamese-American food with some Chinese influences and a handful of seafood dishes. We stopped pondering the question as soon as a round of soups hit the table. The enormous house-special noodle soup ($4.75) had tasty beef balls and noodles floating in a broth sprinkled with basil and spices. We hardly made a dent in the thing. A more manageable hot-and-sour soup ($2.60) with soft tofu, bamboo shoots, and decorative lily flowers was thick, rich, and tangy. The Vietnamese spring rolls ($2.65), however, were somewhat disappointing -- overstuffed, chalky, and bland.

    But the entrées made up for it. A sweet chicken-lemongrass dish marinated in a "special sauce" ($4.55) was succulent, flavorful, and large for its strikingly low price. And a huge plate of beef lo mein ($4.75) filled us up with soft, round noodles swimming amid green onions and thin strips of beef. We might complain that our boisterous friend skimped on the meat in many of the dishes, but considering that at the end of the meal we were so satisfied we could hardly stand up, it wasn't a serious flaw.

    V. Majestic, located at 164 Brighton Avenue, in Allston, is open Wednesday through Monday from noon to 10:30 p.m. Call (617) 782-6088.

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