On any given weekend, Lá Me teems with folks waiting to snag a booth and feast on its extensive menu of Vietnamese dishes. At around noon, a half-hour wait is virtually guaranteed. At 1 p.m., it’s probably longer. The sweet spot is trying to get there early or after the lunch rush.
No matter how long or short of a time you wait, the food will be worth it.
Lá Me has been a staple in Dallas’ Vietnamese community for years. It’s located in a shopping center called Walnut Street Mall near other Vietnamese eateries and an Asian grocery store. On a Sunday, it’s not uncommon for the restaurant to be filled with churchgoers stopping by after service.
Inside, rows of tables are surrounded by a border of booths that line the walls of the restaurant. Behind the counter are fridges filled with readymade desserts and drinks. Then there’s its menu, the length of which could make the Cheesecake Factory blink.
One of its specialty dishes is the bún đậu mắm tôm, a build-your-own-wrap platter that comes with fermented fish paste, fried tofu, sliced boiled pork, a shrimp patty, vermicelli noodles, and a load of veggies. Wrap it how you like (use lettuce to hold it all and layer the ingredients on top) and dip it into the shrimp paste to get a meal that’s savory, minty, and fresh. The dish is big enough for two if you’re looking to share.
I’d be remiss to not mention the egg rolls, which are wrapped in transparent rice paper and deep-fried to crispy, flaky perfection. They come accompanied by a fishy sauce steeped with pickled carrots and onions.
You can’t go wrong with pho, a classic Vietnamese noodle dish, but I went twice for the vermicelli bowls. The bún THK bò nướng chả giò has warm sliced shrimp patty, grilled beef, and those crispy egg rolls on top of a bed of cold vermicelli noodles and shredded lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts, and mint. Pour the brothy fish sauce on top of the whole thing for a tangy kick. You won’t be disappointed, and like me, you may even go back for seconds.
Every server works essentially every table, so don’t expect to have dedicated service from one person. And to pay, you’ll have to go up to the counter. You’ll be tempted to grab a drink (I’d recommend the iced passionfruit drink or a Vietnamese coffee) on the way out.
The first time I went was on a Saturday at around 1:45 p.m., right after the lunch rush. The second time was on a Monday at 11:30 a.m., and service was just starting to pick up. I sat in the corner and watched as customers trickled in with their fingers held up to show they’d be dining with three, four, five people.
An older couple walked in and were seated next to me. The gentleman scanned the menu, waited for a beat, and said to the woman, “Wow, how did you find this place again?”