Okay, so I broke my vow. I wasn't going to eat out anymore ever again. But on Saturday, my pal needed to use my sewing machine, and we were headed to FlugTag at 5:30. That meant no time to repair the holes in his jeans, cook, eat, clean and get to the festival on time. So we went out.
And I was impressed. I've been getting snottier and snottier with what I think is food good enough for the money. Hai Ky, a Vietnamese restaurant, served up a good deal of food (enough for two meals) at a reasonable price.
The pad thai with chicken arrived with carrots and cucumbers on the side, boasting crumbled peanuts on top. The chicken was plump and luscious especially with that savory and velvety sauce. Not only was the dish satisfying, it was also comforting. Something about tucking into a plate of warm noodles always brings me to a happy place inside.
I also sampled parts of a vermicelli bowl with chicken. The Nước chấm, the expected brothy sauce on the side, was sweet and light, as it should be, and the bowl was filled with all sorts of appropriate goodies, rounding out the meal with veggies, protein and starch.
The unassuming restaurant takes up its residency in a strip mall, which may make it seem seedy. But step inside, and you will find walls painted hip colors, artsy photos hung on the wall, often featuring Austin hot spots and landmarks, and simple tables. There are no utensils here, or at least, none that I noticed. The caddy on the table houses all your basic needs for the meal: sauces, salt, pepper, sweetner and chopsticks.
Would I recommend Hai Ky? Absolutely. But what's more, I'd go back again myself.