Friday, March 23, 2012

Brodard Restaurant (The best Spring Rolls)


I tasted the best Vietnamese Spring Rolls ever this weekend. As I’m writing this post, I’m plotting my next return.

Last weekend FH and I were in Anaheim. We weren’t quite sure where to eat. Luckily, I was also dining with Kung Food Panda, and he suggested we eat somewhere in Little Saigon. With the slim Vietnamese offerings in San Diego, I readily agreed.

Recommendations by several trusted bloggers  and 1000+ yelp reviews steered us to Brodard. Brodard actually has two locations: Brodard Restaurant and Brodard Chataeu. While both are related, Chateau is the fancier location which offers the same food but for a few dollars more. We went to the cheaper location, which seemed like a pretty nice spot once we were able to find it.

It’s tricky to locate because it’s nowhere to be seen once you enter the plaza. Instead, look for the 99 Cents Store, and go around back and then you’ll spot this easy-to-miss sign. Once inside though, it’s a rather large and nice looking restaurant.

This place tends to be crowded with a wait. We were lucky because we stopped by in the late afternoon and got a table right away. Still though, the restaurant was bustling and there was a constant line for the take out section the entire time we were there.

While Brodard offers a wide menu selection, KFP informed me that only the spring rolls are really worth it and everything else is just okay. So we decided to stop here for our “pre-dinner” meal only.

Normally when I order Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, I order goi cuon which is usually filled with fresh shrimp, pork, rice noodles. However, the special rolls for this place are the chao tom cuon (grilled shrimp paste) and nem nuong cuon (grilled pork paste). These popular rolls are even featured on the front of the menu.

There are two things that make these spring rolls standout from all the ones I’ve ever tried:

Crunchy fried pieces: Bite inside these rolls and you’ll find them stuffed with a surprise of crunchy bits of fried spring roll wrappers. While there are other recipes that also include fried crunchy bits, I thought they used the perfect amount. It gives you the wonderful sensation of eating both a fresh spring roll and a fried one at the same time.  The fresh wrapper was also good. Not gummy or too thick. The spring roll alone was already really great. But there’s more.

Specialty Sauce: The rolls are accompanied with a house special sauce, with a secret recipe sought after by many. This sauce really stands on its own. It just happens that they serve it with these two spring rolls making them extra popular, but really you could eat this sauce with so many more things. It could work as a dipping sauce for other items, or maybe mixed with noodles.


We spent most of our meal trying to decipher the tastes in the sauce. It tastes of seafood, garlic, sweet, spicy. We tasted ground pork, shrimp paste, and many other flavors we couldn’t quite identify. The sauce was so good I ended up eating it on its own once we finished off our spring rolls.

We loved the spring rolls enough to order 3 each and then we got some to-go also. Unfortunately because of the fresh rice wrappers and the crunchy fried pieces, these don’t keep long. Otherwise I would have gotten more than one order for take out.

The spring rolls are so popular that there is a whole assembly line of employees making them. And the take out line was full of people ordering trays of these rolls for parties.

I was also surprised to see that Brodard offered some desserts like tiramisu, flan and French macarons! The French macarons were quite pretty and while they offered the more common flavors, they also offered some asian flavors too like taro, green tea, mango passionfruit.

The macarons here have a softer shell. I prefer the chewy shells. But what I like about them is the filling, which is very light. When eaten together, it tasted like the Asian style cakes. I initially bought five macarons. But while we waited for our spring rolls take out order, I started sampling them. Soon three were gone. Oops. So I got back in line and ordered six more so I would have enough to take home.

The spring rolls and house special sauce alone are definitely worth a trip to Brodard. It’s now made our rotation of must stops in the Orange County area to pick up food when nearby (along with beef rolls from 101 noodle express, spicy tuna bowl from Fukada, breads from 85 C). Here’s another shot of the sauce from the to-go order.

Here’s Pink Candles of Ridgemont High take on Brodard.

Brodard Restaurant
9892 Westminster Ave
Garden Grove, CA 92844
(714) 530-1744

 

10 Responses to “Brodard Restaurant (The best Spring Rolls)”

  1. 1

    dave — March 23, 2012 @ 5:23 am

    I absolutely LOVE those spring rolls. I was just talking to a friend about this the other day!

    • Kirbie replied: — March 23rd, 2012 @ 8:36 am

      I’m addicted. I missed them the second I finished.

  2. 2

    Sandy — March 23, 2012 @ 7:04 am

    Wow – I didn’t know Brodard had macarons now! Yes, based on their address, you would never find it. I had to call my mother-in-law, who told me to go around the back of the strip mall.

    I have to be in LA this weekend, and I’m already plotting my food stops! I may have to add Brodard now. Where is Fukada?

    • Kirbie replied: — March 23rd, 2012 @ 8:40 am

      Fukada is in Irvine. They have two locations, one is sit-down, one is near the campus for To-go orders. They are famous for their spicy tuna bowls which taste different from other tuna bowls I’ve had. They also make a good sansei udon with fresh udon noodles. Here’s my post on the sit-down spot, but we usually go to the To Go location now to pick up a spicy tuna bowl, sometimes with combination of mini udon. Hmm, I need to update this post with better shots of the tuna bowl.

  3. 3

    Manda — March 23, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

    I LOVE Brodard so much that it’s a must whenever I’m in SoCal. The sauce is killer. The nem nuong cuon assembly line is huge but very efficient.

    • Kirbie replied: — March 23rd, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

      Yeah I had a hard time capturing the line with my camera. It was much more impressive in person to see. I didn’t have a zoom lens on me. I’m definitely in love with the sauce.

  4. 4

    Rodzilla — March 25, 2012 @ 4:45 am

    I love that they don’t even use rice noodles as filler. I’m really curious about this sauce now.

    • Kirbie replied: — March 26th, 2012 @ 9:03 am

      I like that they don’t use rice noodles as filler too. The sauce is really really good.

  5. 5

    NerdsWithFood — March 25, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

    Wow! Those spring rolls look fantastic! We were actually in a restaurant in that area on Saturday – Ngu Binh. They’re known for Bun Bo Hue and it’s very very good and quite spicy. I would highly recommend it. They were actually featured in the Food section of the LA Times. While we were eating, this really nice lady was talking to my mom in Vietnamese and said we need to try the spring rolls at Brodard. Glad you wrote up a review! Now I’ll have to try it!

    • Kirbie replied: — March 26th, 2012 @ 9:13 am

      Thanks for the rec. there were a few other places nearby I wanted to try out that night but didn’t have time! Including an oxtail pho. Must make some more trips back.

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