House Special is a new Vietnamese restaurant that recently opened this summer in Yaletown. They offer contemporary, up-scale Vietnamese dishes plus pho.
The restaurant is tucked at the end of Hamilton street near the Yaletown-Roundhouse station, and the space is beautiful. Very relaxing and airy. I went with Nafiza after getting some burritos and nachos(more on that later), and we both adored the restaurant decor, and the vibrantly-colored benches lining the wall.
This is the Son-in-Law eggs, which is a deep-fried soft-boiled eggs sitting on top of a dried chili and tamarind jam and house aioli, according to their website. According to my mouth, it was a delicious spicy, yolky egg bomb that I wanted seconds of. If you have been following our posts, you will see that I hold a healthy obsession for eggs. Runny egg yolks are my kryptonite. This fried egg was no exception. It was like the scotch eggs at Tuc Craft Kitchen(also a great brunch place) but more delicate, because here the subtle taste of the soft-boiled egg is supported by the spicy and sweet tamarind jam. Tuc Craft’s crispy egg and bacon is also great, but I think the salty bacon kind of overpowers the egg a little. Plus, the batter used at House Special is crispier.
Of course, while I was enjoying my egg, Nafiza and I couldn’t help but have some fun with the name of this dish. I am not sure if there is a story behind the name. But still, while I do not have a daughter, this son-in-law was beautiful on the inside and out and performed his duty well.
This is the Shaken Beef. Now, I must first say that the shaken beef is actually only available on the dinner menu. But when I asked my waiter would it be possible for me to have it during lunch, they made it happen. I did not expect them to be so accommodating and gracious, and for that I am sincerely grateful. The actual dish was also fantastic. The generous pile of pea shoots on top were just slightly wilted and tasted fresh and sweet. The beef tenderloin cubes underneath were a tender medium rare, which was excellent. I especially enjoyed the fact that the rice underneath formed a nice crust in the cast iron pot. The rice was also easy to scrape off, so I didn’t need to pick a fight with the pot, because I love to eat the crispy rice at the bottom.
The Shaken Beef also reminded me of the famous luc lac beef on rice(with a fried egg, if you’re like me) from Phenom Penh. I think comparing these two would be like comparing apples and oranges. The luc lac beef at Phenom Penh is made with a meat gravy sauce, while House Special does not really dress the beef and let the flavor of the meat speak for itself. I enjoy both, though I must say that the luc lac beef at Phenom Penh is much cheaper. The food at House Special tends to be on the pricier side, but that might also be because of their Yaletown address.
I would definitely go back to House Special again. There are still so many dishes to try. Their fry bread, Banh Xeo tacos and crispy ribs looks quite interesting.