DRAGON ROUGE – thru the tube to begin

So, yeah, this blog is about Oakland food, but Alameda is almost Oakland. Half my family settled there in the twenties, before my half moved through the tube to Oakland. I was visiting a particular favorite of mine the other night and anxious to begin writing food. The name of the place is Dragon Rouge, it calls itself a Vietnamese Bistro, and it is an amazing treat of eating enjoyment. Last Friday night, my better half (from here on out we’ll just call him “BH” for short) and I stopped in for a bite to eat.

We began with cocktails. Dragon Rouge recently expanded to a full bar. Yay~! I had the Dragon’s Kiss Martini (which is a fantastic blend of mango, liquor and a hint of Sriracha hot pepper sauce). Okay, sounds weird right? Kinda is, but so good I had two. The combination of the thick sweet mango and the after sip heat left by the Sriracha was bliss. BH had the Dragon Berry Punch. This was a fruity stew of goodness. The kind of drink you want to have way too many of.

Once we have been at this for awhile, I will try to teach BH not to get his hands in my photos. But for now, you can at least get the gist of the drinks.

So on to the meal. We ordered Mango Steak Blankets, Lemon Grass Chicken Rolls, Curry Chicken and a half order of the Mekong Skewer Platter. The waitress (who was as helpful as she was beautiful) brought us the Mango Steak Blankets to start. We were starving so we dived in. There is no describing these delicacies until you have tried them. It is a steak strip of some sort wrapped around the tiniest slice of mango and a tiny bit of green onion. The meat is moist, juicy and perfectly cooked. These babies just about melt in your mouth. BH usually doesn’t like his meats with anything sweet and so we had not ordered them together in our many trips here. He recognized the error of his ways at first bite. The “blankets” are accompanied by a lovely, yet simple lemon-lime and salt & pepper dipping sauce, in addition to the standard sweet & sour.

After the Mango Steak Blankets came the Lemon Grass Chicken Roll. These rolls are a lovely example of the raw fresh spring roll. They are well seasoned, extremely fresh and all around goodness. They were immediately followed by the Mekong Skewer Platter (did I mention the service was great? She brought everything right out as it came off the grill. Hot, steamy and fresh!)
The small version of the platter contains one of each protein selection, beef, pork, shrimp and chicken. All are done to perfection. One might think that they’d get at least one of the meats wrong, since they all cook at such different temps, but no. Each was done exactly the way it should be and had that beautiful smoky barbeque flavor. We had initially ordered the larger platter, but the waitress kindly told us it was pretty big, and so might be too much for us. We went with her suggestion, and she was correct. The small platter was sufficient. They next brought us the Curry Chicken and some brown rice to finish off the main courses. The curry chicken is unremarkably delicious. It’s really really good. Really simple, and not spicy.
My BH is a pretty serious eater, so we were ready for more, and ordered dessert. The deep fried Banana Samosa is exactly what it sounds like. A yummy, crunchy, hot and cold pile o’ goodness. If you are a fan of bananas fried in any manner, it’s not to be missed.
Dragon Rouge is located at 2304 Encinal Avenue, Alameda, Ca. The phone is 510-521-1800 and their website is http://www.dragonrougerestaurant.com/.
Bon Appetit!
Price: Moderate
Eating Time: Lunchable
Table size: Adequate

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