Tonight's restaurant pick came from my eleven-year-old daughter. When asked what she wanted to have for her birthday, she said "that Vietnamese spot nearby", referring to Saint-Henri's TRAN Cantine.
Clearly my kids are well groomed; they're not the Chuck E. Cheese kind! Not that we have that in Montreal, but I digress… With that, I headed down the street to pick up some of our favorite dishes from this Notre Dame Street locale, a takeout regular of ours.
Opened in 2017, TRAN focuses on the holy trinity of Vietnamese food: pho, rice/vermicelli bowls and banh mi. These come with a choice of protein – chicken, beef, pork or tofu skin – and are preceded by a couple of rolls – spring or imperial – and salads.
The flavorful pho stands up to the competition while the vermicelli bowl is bright and standard issue. Their best output is the banh mi sandwich. Featuring fresh, quality ingredients and generously stuffed with tasty grilled beef, it has to be my favorite in town.
"shrimp, chicken, vermicelli, lettuce, coriander, mint & rice paper with peanut sauce"
"mushroom, carrot, onion & vermicelli in imperial roll pastry, served with fish sauce"
"chicken broth, fresh rice noodles, onion, coriander, scallion, bean sprouts, basil leaves, lime & soybean curd"
"served with lettuce, pickled carrot, daikon radish, bean sprouts, cucumber, coriander, mint, basil & fish sauce"
"baguette, pickled carrot, daikon radish, cucumber, scallion, coriander, soy sauce, homemade vietnamese mayo"
Due to its small space and sparse tables – even before "social distancing" entered our lexicon – I have only ever done takeout at TRAN over the last few years. From its consistent food and always having the order ready in the promised 10-15 minutes to how neatly to-go orders are partitioned across containers, it's easy to see why I keep coming back here.
What a treat it is to have this family-run business nearby to feed my own.
Price per person: $18.42
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.