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The customizable nature of Vietnamese food is on show at Basilic, a 10-seat restaurant in the old Tedesco's spot in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Banh xeo, a pan-fried crepe made from rice flour, is an extraordinarily mild canvas for fresh mint and cilantro leaves and a clear fish sauce called nuoc cham. Rice paper spring rolls are stuffed with shrimp, pork, and lots of lettuce; Ha Noi noodles are ripe for experimentation with bean sprouts, pickled carrots, daikon, and pan-fried bits of chicken, pork, and sweet ham lavishing in a dish of that lip-smacking fish sauce. The service is friendly and the pho is great, deeply beefy and redolent of star anise. Banh mi served during lunch only aren't completely authentic, but they are tasty and filled with crisp crunchy vegetables and grilled meat.
I have a friend who is obsessed with seasoning her own food. When she sits down at a restaurant, the first thing she'll do is look for the saltshaker. If it's missing, she figures, "Any chef that makes me ask for salt is too full of himself." I... More »
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