Nam An

CC of Pink Candles at Ridgemont High  and I got together for lunch at Nam An on a beautiful Saturday recently. (You can read her take on this visit here.) After reading about Kirk (mmm-yoso) and Kirbie’s (Kirbie’s Cravings) visits, we were eager to try the sea snail green mango salad as well as the bloody clams. We got there right around 11 am when parking was still a breeze and the doors (should have been) open. The open sign was on and people were home inside but when I pulled on the the door handle, it was locked. No, this wasn’t a reverse case of a “Bradley School for the Gifted” moment. The door was really locked.

So we kind of stood around outside waiting for the doors to be unlocked. A young guy came to the door and unlocked everything and poked his head out and asked us if we had a reservation. WTF? A reservation? For lunch? Wow, I was thinking that they must have really had a smash of a grand opening to expect reservations for lunch. Or perhaps I just misunderstood what he meant. Whatever. But it was a rather odd interaction since CC mentioned it was just 2 for lunch and the guy sort of hesitated and then said, okay, you guys can come in. Maybe he didn’t realize it was already after 11 am or maybe the hours of operation on yelp was inaccurate but whatever. We were in. I felt a little like we were intruding since some of the servers were towards the back of the restaurant prepping and they all looked up at us when we entered as if we interrupted some secret meeting or something. Uh, okay. I looked at my watch again just to make sure I wasn’t in some kind of time warp.

We chose a seat right by the front since it had good lighting. We were ready to take pictures of our meal. We looked through the menu and was a little disappointed that we didn’t see the appetizer menu. I could have sworn that particular menu was available on Saturdays. Oh well, we’ll make due.

First up, a jug of water for the table. I like this since I don’t have to wait for a water refill.

After we placed our order, the door guy came by to drop off another menu, the appetizer menu! WTH? After looking over the menu, I didn’t see the bloody clams and since we had already ordered, we decided to just order the sea snail mango salad. I think if we had gotten the appetizer menu with the regular menu, we might have just order off the appetizer menu.

First up, sea snail green mango salad. This was very good and we enjoyed the tanginess of the mango and the chewiness of the sea snails. Taste-wise it reminded me of a tougher kind of clams. CC mentioned surf clams and that these sea snails must have been kind of big. This was also good the next day.

Both CC and I chose bun as our entrees. CC’s bun with beef. Pretty standard.

Mine with BBQ pork and egg rolls. The pork was tender and had nice flavor. I enjoyed the egg rolls.

We ordered the house special noodles to share. The shrimp was a little overcooked for my taste but the calamari was okay. Noodles were cooked well but overall a very UNDERwhelming dish for the both of us. It lacked flavor and a bit too much veggies for me. We ended up splitting this to take home. I ended up eating it for breakfast with a generous amount of Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce as a leftover, which helped tremendously. But I wouldn’t get this again unless I had a bottle of the GMS Sauce with me.

Overall visit was kind of mixed. The whole locked door and reservation thing was a bit odd but most of the food we enjoyed. And then it happened. CC had ordered a specialty drink and as she got to the bottom of it, she pulled out a rather sharp piece of plastic out of her mouth. Holy shit, she could have swallowed it. At first we thought it was a piece of glass but upon further inspection, it was plastic. CC wasn’t sure if she should mention it but I wanted to just so they were aware that there may be other pieces in whatever it is they use to make the drink. The server was really apologetic about it and kept asking if CC had hurt herself. Then the owner came by to apologize and explain that it might have been the ice and that the servers might have used a plastic cup to scoop the ice. Personally, I think they should have taken the drink charge off the bill.

But not to end on a negative note, the food was good and we had a good time catching up. And CC brought me some home baked goods with a beautiful pedestal server that she made. Yes, she made the server and the brownies! She saved the edges just for me and it had Ghirardelli chocolate chips and almonds, delicious! Uh, didn’t last long even with the whole bounty of pastries I was bringing home (more on that later). Thanks CC!


Nam An Vietnamese Restaurant
4690 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111

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