WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
The sleekness of the visuals here–the logo, menu, dining room design, even the name–may delay you awhile in discovering that this is two rather standard restaurants in one. It’s half Vietnamese, and half American breakfast-and-lunch cafe. Both aspects of Thanh Thanh are a bit more than passably good. The pleasant surroundings and the hospitable staff explain the popularity of the place.
You can come in here for a basic combo breakfast, an omelette, waffles and grits. Or, later, for plate specials like chicken parmesan or breaded pork chops with macaroni and cheese. But from lunchtime on, the Vietnamese dishes begin to take over, with pho (the Vietnamese beef and noodle soup) and spring rolls being the major players. Also here, though, is a scattering of Thai and Korean dishes. This is most emphasized in the quiet evening hours.
The name is pronounced something like “tangh-tangh.” The menu translates it as “light blue on a clear day.” It’s owned and managed by the younger side of a Vietnamese family that came to New Orleans as refugees at the end of the Vietnam war, and quickly set about making something of its new home. Thanh Thanh opened shortly after the hurricane in Algiers, but within a year moved to this location in the heart of Old Gretna. The proximity to the courthouse gives it a robust regular breakfast and lunch clientele.
The restaurant occupies an old Greek restaurant in an older building, and doesn’t look like much from the outside. The dining room, however, is beautiful and comfortable, and feels like the kind of place where the music you hear in a spa ought to be playing. The young service staff is very pleased you’re there.
»Asian omelette (shrimp and vegetables)
Greek omelette (spinach, feta, asparagus)
»Pancakes and waffles
»Vietnamese spring rolls, prepared almost any way you like
Crab Rangoon dip
»Vermicelli salad (many options)
Asian grilled chicken salad
Tuna or chicken salad on whole tomato
»Tom yum noodle soup (Thai style)
Bahn mi (Vietnamese poor boys)
Thai chicken wrap
»Vietnamese crepes with pork and shrimp
Roasted chicken with honey glaze
Caramelized chicken with lemongrass
Molasses-simmered pork ribs
»Rockin’ beef (cubed and stir-fried with onions, garlic and tomato)
»Char-broiled Korean beef
»Pad thai noodles
Fried rice combinations (many possibilities)
FOR BEST RESULTS
The basic breakfasts and lunch are really not bad, but that’s mostly for people who have to be near the courthouse. The Vietnamese food is what you crossed the river to get. At dinner, try some of the dishes that have a Vietnamese-Creole ring–the ribeye steak, for example.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +1
- Value +3
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +1
- Good for business meetings
- Open Sunday lunch
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations accepted