In all my years of desperately living in the shadows of Oklahoma City’s Asian District, I have spent so long sampling the wares of the more visible restaurants in the area that, somehow, I have absolutely missed out on VII Asian Bistro.
For that, I’m very sorry.
Hidden in the corner of a refurbished strip-mall at 2900 N. Classen, Suite G., the suggestion to try this place actually came from my former neighbor Amy, who has apparently had lunch there a few times and, in light of her trying recent events, I wasn’t going to argue about it. That would be classless.
As she took the day off work to deal with said various issues, we met for a late lunch. Surprisingly, the place was still relatively full on a weekday afternoon, typically a good sign. Our waitperson brought us menus but, as Amy and I got to talking we forgot to look at them, necessitating another few minutes before our selections were carved in edible stone.
With nary a wait for our appetizer, it showed up soon enough and, truly, was a thing of beauty; the Chicken Lettuce Wraps ($9.99), had me enamored as soon as they were placed in front of us. A recommend from Amy, they featured wok-seared minced chicken, along with mushrooms, scallions and water chestnuts that are then paired with fresh leaves of lettuce for something that, I assume, could be considered a healthy treat.
Carrying a heavy payload, I wrapped my lettuce leaf in the seasoned chicken, complete with a dainty spoon of spicy sauce for goodwill. Carefully holding tight to my wrap, I slowly moved it up to my lips, only spilling a small splattering as I slowly enjoyed this, to me, heretofore unknown treat; it was so storybook wonderful that I have to be honest and let you know I had a second one, just as plump as the first.
As I was in my own spicy dreamworld, Amy began working on her Bún Thịt Nướng Chả Giò ($11.99) or the vermicelli with grilled pork and an egg roll. Arriving in a comically large bowl, VII made sure that it was magnificently loaded with specialty noodles, the top of which was covered with not only slightly sliced pork and eggrolls, but a variety of vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and other green treats.
Unlike many of the hearty soups I’ve sampled in and around this beloved district, her greens had a definite crispness to it, a freshness that can’t be denied. The firmness of the vegetables mixed with the savories of the lean meats, all brought together by the irresistible vermicelli noodles to create a remarkable lunch that was hard not to swipe at when she wasn’t looking.
But even the beauty of her lunch was no match for my own classy meal, the Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ ($11.99) or the Vietnamese fried chicken, even if that’s a bit of a misnomer; in all actuality, it’s a crispy Cornish hen—a piece of fowl that I have never had before, if you can believe that—sided with a scoop of rice and various fresh vegetables to boot.
The rice and vegetables were great, so let’s just get that out of the way and focus on the absolute perfection of this Cornish hen; with a somewhat richer flavor than typical chicken, it was fried to a golden hue and, as I gently pulled apart the leg from the already halved body, as I lifted it to my lips, I was seemingly transported to a world of absolute deliciousness.
Visibly shaken in the best way possible, I was absolutely smitten with this Cornish hen and, even more so, genuinely taken by VII Asian Bistro. Cómpralo ya!