2 Fleur
Average check per person $15-$25
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Three Happiness

Gretna: 1900 Lafayette St. 504-368-1355. Map.

Like a number of other West Bank restaurants, the Three Happiness serves a both Chinese and Vietnamese food. The family that operates the place is Vietnamese, however, and although they cook decent Chinese dishes, it’s clear that their hearts are in Vietnam. However, a few years ago they broke away from the many other Vietnamese places on the West Bank by serving dim sum–the little Chinese dumplings and appetizers–on Saturday and Sunday mornings, from 9 a.m. through lunch. Unfortunately, these are offered not from rolling carts like in San Francisco, but by a sushi-bar-style checklist, the names on which are puzzling. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting adventure.

Like most Vietnamese menus, the Three Happiness’s functions more as a price list than as an exact roll call of what they can cook. It also helps lower the language barrier–a good thing for both you and the servers. After removing repetitive items (i.e., the dozen variations of bun), we are still left with a list of 140 dishes here. We rarely publish such a lengthy catalog, but I thought I would here, because it’s a good example of what most major Vietnamese places are capable of serving, and it’s reasonably easy to understand.

Phu and Nancy Tran opened the Three Happiness in 1993, at a time when Vietnamese food was just beginning to make inroads among mainstream New Orleans diners. Nevertheless, it was the habit among Vietnamese restaurants at the time to also include a full selection of Chinese dishes, for customers not willing to try entirely new things. A scattering of Japanese items provided the third happiness of the name.

Three Happiness.

The restaurant is in a former retail store in a well-worn strip mall with an improbably enormous parking lot. The interior is rather stark. The booth-style seating is less comfortable than the standard tables. The staff seems to be entirely family, and the customers are largely regulars.

Spring rolls..

Egg rolls
Crab rangoon
»Cold Vietnamese spring rolls
Shrimp balls
Fried Vietnamese spring rolls
»Shrimp toast
»Grilled pork meatballs or char-broiled pork rolled with vermicelli, lettuce, and mint in fresh rice paper
Cho cho
Fried wonton stuffed with roast pork and shrimp
Barbecue ribs
Golden crisp wontons
Barbecue pork.
Bo bo tray
Egg drop soup wonton soup
»Hot and sour soup Chinese vegetable soup.
Crabmeat and asparagus soup
Chinese Entrees
Chow mein
Chop suey
Lo mein
Fried rice
Egg foo yung
(Above served with chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, vegetables, or combinations)
Princess chicken (crabmeat, baby corn, snow peas)
»Empress chicken or shrimp in garlic sauce
»Moo shu pork, chicken, or shrimp.
»Shrimp with lobster sauce Cantonese style
»Go bah Hunan style (chicken, pork, shrimp, vegetables on a sizzling platter)
Royal sizzling steak and shrimp
Ribeye steak, vegetables, flaming sauce
Queen’s lobster, Chinese vegetables
»Ginger onion lobster
Lobster, shrimp, scallops, crabmeat, straw mushrooms, broccoli, flaming sauce
Love nest (lobster, shrimp, scallops, vegetables, crispy noodles)
»Sizzling steak and scallops
Scallops with black mushrooms and snow peas.
Fried soft shell crab, vegetables
Soft shell crab in butter sauce, lettuce and tomatoes
»West Lake duck, snow peas, baby corn, straw mushrooms
Mandarin duck or fried boneless duck, brown gravy, crushed nuts
»Cantonese style roasted whole or half duck
Fried rice with Chinese sausage, pork, shrimp, peas and carrots
Squid in a black bean sauce
Steamed whole tilapia, ginger, black bean sauce
»Beef stir-fried with Chinese broccoli
Vietnamese Entrees
»Roasted barbecue quail
»Black pepper seasoned shrimp
Crispy pork chitterlings, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers
Pork chitterling, pickled mustard greens
Fried crispy squid in butter sauce, fried broccoli
Fried scallops in butter sauce, fried broccoli
Marinated beef for grilling at the table
»Shrimp and squid on a sizzling grill
Beef salad with lemon twist
Clams and green mussels, garlic and basil
»Lamb with lily mushrooms in curry sauce
»Mr. Lee’s whole crisp chicken
Sautéed fish with meat and egg
»Vietnamese sautéed fish, steamed with pork, shrimp, eggplant
»Seafood hot pot
»Spicy seafood hot pot with clear noodles
»Hot and sour seafood hot pot with rice noodles
»Eel in hot and spicy hot pot
»Catfish in hot and sour hot pot
»Lamb with herbs in hot pot
»Vietnamese lotus root with pork and shrimp
Jellyfish, lotus root, shrimp and pork salad
Vietnamese chicken salad
»Vietnamese jellyfish, shrimp, and squid salad
Catfish in hot and sour souplarge
Vietnamese crepe with pork and shrimp
Thin pressed vermicelli, rice paper, lettuce, mint, and cucumber and choice of char-broiled pork, grilled pork meatballs, shrimp balls with sugar cane
Crushed rice with shredded pork, pork chop, Vietnamese meat cake, eggs
Rice with char-broiled lemon grass chicken
Rotisserie chicken with orange rice
Rice with roasted duck, seafood, stir-fried beef, or Vietnamese style jumbo prawns, with vegetables
Rice with ribeye steak chunks in a butter sauce
Seafood and roasted pork, clear or white rice noodles
Rice noodles with beef stew
Seafood with stir-fried rice noodles
Stir-fried rice noodles with beef and broccoli
Udon rice noodles, shredded pork, coconut milk, crushed nuts
Boiled pork or seafood udon noodle soup
Roasted pork and Vietnamese ham poor boy
»Char-broiled pork poor boy
»Meatballs on French bread.
Beef stew with French bread
»»Bún (cool vermicelli topped with choice of char-broiled pork, beef tendon, lemon grass beef, lemon grass chicken, lemon grass shrimp, fried spring rolls, pork meatballs, fried shrimp or combinations).
Sugar cane shrimp balls with vermicelli
Prawn vermicelli soup
Wonton soup Vietnamese style
Seafood and roasted pork over egg noodles,
Egg noodles with seafood
Roasted duck and egg noodles soup
Seafood and roasted pork, vegetables, crispy or soft noodles
Rice noodle soup with choice of chicken, medium rare beef, beef meatballs, beef tendon, or brisket
Congee (rice porridge) with meat or seafood of your choice
»Deep fried whole fish, tomato sauce
»Deep fried whole fish, vegetables, Hunan sauce
Simmered catfish steaks in clay pot
»Squid with black pepper
Fried scallops sautéed in xo cognac sauce
Squid stir-fried with pineapple
Vietnamese style simmered shrimp
Shrimp with lemon grass
Vietnamese style jumbo prawns, tomatoes, cucumbers
Lobster with ginger and onions
»Black pepper seasoned lobster
»Hunan style lobster
Lobster, red bell peppers, onions, black bean sauce
Scallops served with black mushrooms
Scallops with lemon grass
»Mussels steamed with shallots or oyster curry
Mussels stir-fried, red bell peppers, onions, black bean sauce
»Char-broiled lemon grass chicken
»Ginger chicken
Chicken stir-fried with mixed vegetables
»Salted garlic shrimp and pork bacon
Salted baby ribs
»Pepper pork in clay pot with tofu
Minced pork, lemon grass, shrimp paste
Beef stir-fried with mixed vegetables
»Tenderloin beef in sate sauce
Beef served with pickled mustard greens
»Saigon sizzling ribeye steak
»Fried banana beignet
Ice cream
Longan cocktail
Gelatin with Asian red beans and coconut milk.

Ask as many questions as the server will allow, knowing that he or she will steer you away from dishes you’d have to grow up in Vietnam to appreciate fully. (If it’s really intriguing, insist on ordering it anyway.)

A book of photos of the dim sum, or some sort of English descriptions, would be very helpful.

Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment -2
  • Consistency +1
  • Service
  • Value +2
  • Attitude +1
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness +1
  • Local Color -1



  • Good for business meetings
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Unusually large servings
  • Quick, good meal
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • Reservations accepted

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