Môt Hai Ba is currently owned by Chef Peja Krstic who wants to merge Vietnamese and French cuisines, stressing quality and seasonal ingredients. The name means 1-2-3 in Vietnamese and it is only open for dinner. Located in the Lakewood area of Dallas the place opened about a decade ago under different owners and had communal type of seating. Krstic changed that to individual tables in the very small facility. It does have a nice sized patio out front. In the corner inside is the bar with 4 seats, lights are lowered, there are lots of plants and candles and music is in the background. The really small tables are set with chopsticks only but the servers bring traditional flatware with plates. Service was overly cheerful and bit amateurish and the food was disappointing.
Fried Avocado Salad was a crunchy and refreshing salad of Bartlet pears, green mango and jicama tossed in a lemon nuoc cham with toasted sesame then topped with fried Texas avocado half glazed in spicy honey-cham glaze. The fried avocado was nicely ripe and sitting on a bed of grated jicama, green mango and pear. The sauce had a back spiciness that left a tingle on the tongue. There was a good amount of interesting textures and flavor in the dish.
Bánh Bao were steamed buns filled with braised brisket and topped with shallot marmalade and crispy shallots. They come 2 to an order and were well stuffed. There is texture as the bit on top gets crispy but the flavors here were much more mild. Nice textural contrasts but the flavor was too mild.
Shaking Beef contained angus tenderloin, soy vinaigrette, pickled red onion, charred tomatoes. The beef was way over-cooked, dull and dry. There were lots of tomatoes but it does not merit the price of $40.
Eggplant curry contained charcoal roasted Japanese eggplant, mushrooms, cauliflower, bok choy, sweet potato, pickled mustard leaves, taro root, tofu, lime and chili. It was supposed to be spicy but was not. It was a really hot temperature thoughout. The bits of tofu in it were awful – dry and tasteless. The few pieces of eggplant were good but the pieces of cauliflower in the dish were not cooked enough. It was really a mixed bag.
Garlic noodles are considered an accompaniment and as such are a small bowl. The tasty sauce was too salty but it did have tons of garlic flavor. This one has potential but the balance was way off.