Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mi La Cai

Address: 961 South State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111. 801.322.3590.

Review: We wanted to try some Vietnamese food last night, and Mi La Cai (Mi) serves Vietnamese food; ergo, we frequented. (Not all decisions need to be complicated or well thought out, I've decided.) Mi's menu included an array of pho (a traditional north Vietnamese soup), as well as other Vietnamese classics. It also included American-Asian staples, and for whatever reason, those are what we ordered.

We began with egg rolls.

Yes, the above is a photo of egg roll remnants because we inhaled these bad boys with gusto. Usually, I find egg rolls to be among the most disappointing foods on earth. They should be great, but they are so often filled to excess with those little tasteless rice noodles and wilted cabbage that they make me want to erase my memory with one of the erase-your-memory-and-fill-it-in-with-a-tale-spun-by-Will-Smith devices from "Men in Black." These egg rolls, however, were crispy, dense and filled with porky goodness and crisp vegetables. The sauce accompanying the egg rolls was sweet enough to accentuate the pork, but not too sweet as to mask any flavors. Well played, Mi, well played.

Next up: the entrees. I went with the salt-baked shrimp. This was an exceedingly simple dish consisting of crunchy onions, scallions, bell peppers, jalapenos, and wok seared shrimp. The shrimp was juicy and salty. The vegetables were only slightly cooked, which conserved their crunchiness but didn't develop much flavor. The jalapenos added neither discernable heat nor the chile's natural fruitiness. A splash of lemon would have livened things up a bit. Notwithstanding the issues mentioned, I ate almost the entire plate because, in the end, it was good.

My wife ordered the sweet and sour chicken. The chicken was juicy, and the batter was intensely crunchy. The sweet and sour sauce actually had quite a surprising depth to it and was not overly sweet. Perhaps the best sweet and sour chicken I've had.

Before ending, a special shout out needs to go to Mi's house-made chili sauce. It was a perfect accompaniment to the food, and quite good on its own. It's nice when an establishment takes the time to  do the little things well.

Rating: 7/10 (5/10 is average).

Mi la Cai on Urbanspoon


  1. I haven't been there for years! I think it's time to go back. I always enjoyed every meal there.

  2. I'm super picky with egg rolls. I usually will not get them when we go out to eat but I love the ones at Mi La Cai! They are almost as good as my mom's.