Travelling to Augusta for depositions meant a five hour car ride, and due to scheduling issues no time to stop for a bite to eat. By the time I arrived in the suburb of Evans, I was famished. With thirty minutes to spare before the start of four hours of questioning my options were limited to grabbing a fast food or searching out something more adventurous near the court reporter’s office.
I opted for the later, and a short drive later pulled into the parking lot of a Publix. At the far left end sat Viet Royal. The exterior of the restaurant was clad in red brick. Plat glass windows spanned the front with a rectangular neon open side adjacent to the door. One the facade sat a simple block letter sign proclaiming the name of the restaurant. In case there were any lingering doubts about the kind of cuisine it specialized the sign also proclaimed it served Vietnamese cuisine.
Opening the front door I walked into a very well kept space. It was after noon but the restaurant was bereft of patrons. A slight woman greeted me from behind the cashiers stand located to the right of the entrance. I asked is they served bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) and she informed me that they did not. She added with a smile that they were her favorite. Looking over the menu Viet Royal offered a wide variety of dishes including my personal favorite pho. In a dress shirt and tie, however, I thought it best to avoid the soupy goodness and instead opted for bun thit nuong (grilled pork over vermicelli). I also ordered a pair of spring rolls and took a seat at the bar while I waited for my meal to be prepared.
Despite being in a faceless strip mall the interior of Viet Royal was bright and airy. Pendant lights hung from the ceiling over the maroon upholstered booths that provided seating. Plants dotted the railing between the booths and a flat screen television was anchored to the wall broadcasting the cable news network originally skippered by Ted Turner.
Moments after sitting down my ordered appeared on the bar in a plastic bag. When I arrived at the location of the deposition I opened it to reveal two foam containers. The smaller one on top opened to reveal two delicately rolled spring rolls. The translucent rice paper revealed whole shrimp and shredded vegetables. A peanut based dipping sauce was provided, but the freshness of the ingredients in the rolls stood by themselves and did not require any enhancement.
The bun thit nuong was amazing. Tender pork was perfectly grilled and seasoned sat on tip of thin noodles under a light dusting of crushed peanuts and green onions. Bean sprouts, shredded carrots and basil provided a crunch and peppery bite. A sweet and spicy sauce provided another layer of flavor and made for a very interesting dish. It was among the tastiest take out I had eaten in recent memory and I eagerly inhaled my meal as another person in the lunch room ate a sad meal of reheated ribs and cold sides. I won lunch.
Viet Royal is worth a look if you find yourself on the outskirts of Augusta looking for authentic Vietnamese cuisine. It was well prepared, priced right, and served with a smile. The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Viet Royal accents cash and most major credit cards.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating: