219 El Camino Real
Millbrae, CA 94030
Why did we dine here? – Ben Tre (A city in Vietnam) has three locations on the San Francisco Peninsula.
- San Mateo
- South San Francisco
A friend suggested that we give them a try, so we dined at the Millbrae, CA location. They are more than just a Pho restaurant, they call themselves a Vietnamese Homestyle Cuisine restaurant. Our last visit was in 2018.
Insider Tip – come for the food, ignore the marginal service.
Cuisine – Vietnamese
Location – Millbrae
Opened – 2011
Service – Ben Tre did not have the best service around. You pretty much had to hail the waitresses to get things done.
Verdict – Ben Tre impressed us with reasonably priced food of high quality. They have a wide variety of items and are one of the better Vietnamese restaurants in this area.
Several folks stated that the owner cooks at the South San Francisco location, making the food superior there. We did not detect much variation ourselves.
Tamarine in Palo Alto is still one of our favorite higher end Vietnamese fusion restaurants nearby.
- Ben Tre Signature Dishes – Pho, 5 spice chicken, Garlic Noodles
Ben Tre’s Menu features 14 different appetizers, 12 different types of noodle soups, 7 different rice vermicelli dishes as well as many other entrees. There are 13 different vegetarian dishes. A huge variety with Vietnamese names for each.
Ben Tre Food Picks:
Goi Cuon (Fresh Spring Rolls) ($5.95) Shrimp, Rice Vermicelli, Lettuce & Bean Sprouts rolled in Rice Paper. Spring Rolls were above average quality wise but pretty bland without peanut sauce.
Goi Du Du Tom/Ga ($8.95) Chicken Salad with shredded lettuce, red cabbage and lots of chopped chicken. A decent salad.
Pho Tai Gan Sach (Rare Beef, Tendon & Tripe) ($7.95 for large) – nice large size, good broth that was more robust than the Oakland Pho place. The rare beef was of average quality.
Pho Tai (Rare Beef) ($7.25 for small, $9.75 large) had better than average broth with some star anise and slightly sweet flavor. Transparent thin noodles lazily left in a big bundle. Again, average quality beef. This was better than Turtle Tower.
Pho Ga Quay Chao (5-Spice Chicken Noodle Soup) ($8.95) Baked chicken, marinated in lemon grass & rich herb sauce, served w/ a separate bowl of pho noodle soup. This was an interesting dish with chicken that was juicy and tender along with lots of tender noodles.
Chim Cuc Chien (Roasted Quails) ($8.50) included two butterflied quails roasted to a nice crisp texture. A bit bland, we had to use some of the included seasoning salt.
Bun Cha Gio, Tom & Thit / Bo / Ga Nuong (Imperial Rolls, Shrimp & BBQ Pork / Beef / Chicken Vermicelli) ($10.95) was recommended by our server. A nice overview of the various meats that they serve. Decent quantities and lots of vermicelli. You are supposed to pour the fish sauce all over this dish. The pork only Bun Cha was very good with lots of meat.
Pho Tai Nam (Rare Beef & Well Done Flank) ($9.75) for large. There broth is slightly above average, the one at Pho Ao Sen in Oakland is better. Lots of noodles and accompaniments.
Crispy Fish Fillet with Garlic Noodle ($15.50) included a large portion of delectable deep fried fish and some really nice egg noodles that were very garlicky. No visually appealing, but pretty tasty.
Shaking Beef (Filet Mignon) with garlic noodles ($16) was on their popular dish menu. Decent quality meat cubed and cooked fine. Solid noodles that are cut fairly short.
Ca Kho To (Catfish / Fish Filet Claypot) ($11.95) – Catfish or Fish Filet Simmered in Traditional Homestyle Sauce & Garlic, – —- Sprinkled w/ Black Pepper has a big chunk of fish in a dark sauce with lots of rice.
Che 3-Mau (3-Color Drink) ($3.50) did not have very much drink, and could have used a lot more to compliment all the beans.
Thai Ice Tea ($3.00) hit the spot. Not too sweet.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Five spiced chicken with garlic noodles ($12.50) had the same good noodles. Chicken was ok, not great or particularly moist. We’d go with the shaking beef instead.
Yellow Rice ($2.50) was an interesting dish. It was a little rich and didn’t work well with our digestive system.
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)