In my continuing exploration of Vietnamese options in Wheaton, my boyfriend and I paid a visit to Mi La Cay, formerly Song Phat (actually, there are still some Song Phat signs outside the building). The restaurant is in the same buidling as the wonderfully-named Hung Phat grocery and is the former location of Nava Thai. The dining room is simple, but fairly clean and comfortable.
We started our meal with an order of summer rolls, always a good way to check out a Vietnamese restaurant. I would rank the rolls higher than those at Saigonese. There was a good mix of fresh herbs and veggies in addition to the steamed shrimp, and I liked the peanut sauce that comes with them for dipping. My only complaint is that the shrimp still had the tails on them, so I had to kind of dig around in the roll between bites to pull off the tails.
I also started my meal with an order of mango bubble drink, which had a nice taste but strangely none of the tapioca balls you would expect. I tried to get my boyfriend to order the durian bubble drink, but he was too chicken. He made up for this weak showing, though, with what he ordered for dinner!
He ordered the lemongrass beef noodles soup and I ordered the vietnamese pancake so I could compare it to the crepe at Saigonese. My boyfriend's soup arrived with copious amounts of red chili oil floating on top, so it was spicy, but not oh-my-god burn off the roof of your mouth spicy. In addition to beef and noodles, it had a veritable cornucopia of interesting things floating in it (much of which we couldn't identify). There was a large pig knuckle floating in it, which made for good dinner entertainment while I watched him attempt to stab it with his chopsticks. There was also a beige-color pressed meat thing, and...(drumroll)...coagulated pig's blood, which my boyfriend actually ate. I may be brave enough to eat cow heart, but I wasn't interested in eating blood. When I asked him what it tasted like, he told me, predictably, "Well, it tastes like blood". Overall, he liked the soup, but said that it wasn't close to Nava Thai's floating market noodle soup, which is his gold standard for spicy noodle soups.
I liked my pancake much better than the one at Saigonese. Instead of being really thin and fried, the crepe had some thickness to it, which made the shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts inside seem more incorporated into the egg pancake. My only compliant was the sauce that came with it (nuoc cham) was kind of watery and not as zingy as it usually is. I ended up wishing I hadn't drowned my crepe in it. Otherwise, I liked it. I liked my dish a little bit more than Saigonese, but I'd need to try more dishes before I could decide which restaurant is better overall.