Mekong Restaurant

Mekong RestaurantMekong Restaurant
Mekong RestaurantMekong Restaurant
Bar, Eatery

6004 W Broad St
Richmond, Virginia, 23230-2222
United States

(804) 288-8929 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 62 | Ratings: 160 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by mynie:
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mynie from Maryland

5/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

One of the best beer places I've ever been to, though their image and marketing don't signal anything of the sort. The website looks like it was designed in the late 90s, and their building's facade is just a storefront in a strip mall in a completely nondescript street in Richmond. This, it turns out, is a good thing.

The vibe is fantastic precisely because it avoids all the trappings associated with modern, trendy restaurants. There was a great article about this recently, detailing how the rise of uniform reviewing platforms like Yelp have led to a worldwide homogeneity in new restaurants. A new, trendy place in New York will have shockingly similar decor and menu to a new place in LA, or Akron, or even Cardiff. The best places, then, are the ones that establish firm images outside of the uniform ratings system, and Mekong is definitely such a place.

The decor is straighforward: medium strength lighting, woody walls, high tops, etc. TVs play sports at a low volume. Were it not for their very impressive collection of beer swag, this would look like any other medium-priced Asian restaurant housed in a strip mall.

This MOR vibe is accentuated perfectly, however, by the staff. They are kind and jokey and rude and profane. "What you want, motherfucker," the bartender said to a regular, and the regular could not have been happier to have been greeted in such a way.

If you're an excessive normie and profanity burns your precious ears, this is not the place for you. There are plenty of new, Safe Space restaurants that are designed to prevent you from suffering even a secondsworth of confusion or self-awareness. I urge you to consult Yelp to find a list of them.

And I need to stress: there was no meanness whatsoever in the bartender's tone or intention. He was just being friendly in an unguarded way. And, in an era where "progressive" scenes are rapidly losing their edge and spontaneity in sad attempt to make everything as non-threatening as possible, I found this sort of approach remarkable and refreshing.

But even if you hate that sort of candor and prefer the canned, ersatz vibe of newer beer joints ("woah! they have edison lamps and they're playing the Jack Johnson spotify station!"), you cannot deny the majesty of this place's food and beer.

As for the food: I've never been to Vietnam, but I've had pho in places ranging from Portland, Maine to Hollywood, California, and Mekong's was far and away the best I've ever sampled. Even if the beer list wasn't a tenth as extensive, I'd still recommend this place just for the food.

The beer list is also probably as varied and extensive as any I've ever seen, as their geographic placement allows them to draw from some of the best of the midwest, east coast, and west coast, along with an excellent selection of Belgian brews. They had Alesmith, Bells, and Maine BrewCo all on tap, along with Chimay and Rodenbach. They even had Maine's Lunch, which is really hard to find in freaking Boston.

Overall, I'd rank Mekong in the same class as the big boys: Lord Hobo, Map Room, Three Penny, Blue Palms, Sugar Maple etc. Only their otherworldly vibe and excellent food actually push them to the top of that vaunted class.

An absolute must-visit.

Aug 24, 2016
More User Reviews:
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beerrat from Virginia

4.68/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Feb 08, 2021
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brocktune from Virginia

4.33/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

Aug 31, 2020
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slander from New York

4.5/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

A few beers to start the day at The Answer and as I now know what goes on there, I am left with more questions (Andalls and Jooses and FrozAns, oh my). Our deal done there, food was in order, we agreed. Hey, I know a place. On the the flip side, the other side, the front side, the Vietnamese restaurant with a sick beer selection it has no business having side, anyway…

Was here last year for din when we all came down for the Ops conference, and did this one-two in reverse. Spacious strip mall restaurant space with mounted Richmond Magazine Best & Worst press pieces off the entrance (they are amongst the former and not the latter). Pale green walls, carpeted areas, drop ceiling with sunken spots, you know, like in a restaurant. Large dining area with about 2 dozen booths, shorty, & shared hightop tables, and additional seating/banquet room up front. Seemingly not unlike a thousand restaurants you’ve been to.

In the rear corner, there’s a wood plank bar with a lip and panel base; seating for a baker’s dozenish on backed wood chairs. The barback holds a looooong row of taps on one end with mix & match glassware tucked behind for the easy grab & fill. The large horizontal logo’d board above lists the 50+ draft selections; brewery, beer, style, & pricing. And then it hits you, “Wait. 50+ taps? What fuck is this? This is a Vietnamese restaurant, right?” Yes, it is. But… 38 taps on that row (me, pointing) and 3 towers of 6 each on the bar, so what’s that, 56ish… wait, what?

The other end of the barback holds booze double shelved above glassware, with more in between. A few flatscreens above and some specialty bottles shelved there. Brewery tins, & signage above the booze that extends around to the back wall, and then they somewhat tapers off to large banners & flaggings as they move forward.

As you would expect from a tap list this size, it’s a collection of mix & match this & thats, the number of which seems to exceed the amount of taps I’ve actually seen, so I don’t know where they’re all hiding. 9 Belgians, 10 Wild/Sour/Funky, 12 Pale & Hoppy Ales, 4 ‘night beers’ (stouts), 7 Barrel Aged beers, 4 ‘Andalls’ (house randallized entries), 7 that don’t fit elsewhere, a single cider, and 8 wines (4 red & 4 white). Looks like about a dozen entries in all from VA & DC. I started with a Hardywood Pils and I’ll need a second beer. Hmm. I’ve got it narrowed down to either the Triple Crossing Falcon Smash, De Dolle Boskeun, North Coast Old Stock Cellar Reserve, and/or the Maine Lunch (Vote now!)

By happenstance of walk about, I spied Vanburg & Dewulf Lambic X, Tilquin, Girardin, Oud Beersel, Hanssens, & De Cam Lambic bottles in the forward bottle coolers around the bend, and immediately doubled down on my ‘what the fuck?’ query. Seriously, who’s drinking this here?!? I mean, I would if I lived down here, and would go up and down the food and beer menus accordingly, but believe it or not, it’s not all about me. There must be a sick bottle list here somewhere if they’re sporting the Lambics I’ve seen. Where ‘dat at?

The food here was madness. As I’m not adventurous worth a shit, I went with an easy pork with mixed vegetables dish I dared not to pronounce (Thit Heo Xao Rau Cai), and the shrimp, chicken, & pork fried rice (Com Chien Duong Chau), unlike the phoolish ‘fill up on Pho’ folks I’m with.

Okay. We’ve done our time in the strip mall and have to move on. I, myself, like the front side better than the back side (okay, that didn’t sound good). Food was just amazing, the beer selection is ridiculously good, and the service was excellent. Someone ought to be offering beer and Vietnamese cuisine pairing suggestions…

Feb 04, 2020
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roan22 from New Jersey

4.6/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

I was so excited to have Asian food with so many beer choices on tap! We were visiting for a couple days and this was dinner spot #1. Large restaurant with old school décor, booths and a nice large bar, big enough to accommodate all the food dishes you'll order.

A lot of taps, I counted 50 with some Belgian classics like St Bernadus 12, Val-Dieu Triple, D'Achouffe Houblon Chouffe, Chimay Grande Reserve and DeRanke XX Bitter. My Belgian phase came and went already so none of those for me, but (I used to love the XX Bitter) thought it was remarkable to see so many on tap here. I liked the fresh hop Bissell Brothers lager. When brewers add lots of hops to lagers, pilsners to make them taste more bitter, I appreciate that and I try them all, It went great with the food.

Service was great. The food was the most fun part. I ordered the spicy chicken with lemongrass without onions and we cleaned the plate. It was a perfect spicy chicken dish. The rice was perfect. My bf's dish was huge broth bowl with sausage, meatball, chicken, shrimp and fish, giant mushrooms, daikon, carrots, snow pea, broccoli, cilantro and the awesome broth. Also I ordered spicy basil vegetables which also were good.

Nov 13, 2019
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Gkruszewski from New York

4.59/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Feb 14, 2019
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bl00 from Pennsylvania

4.64/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

Located in a strip mall, Mekong appears to be your average Asian restaurant at first glance. Ambiance isn't bad, though isn't special either. Food was phenomenal. Service was solid. Beer selection was great, as expected. Overall reasonable prices. If you are on the fence with this place, for the love of god go check it out. My expectations were greatly exceeded. Loved my meal here, won't hesitate to return next time I'm in Richmond.

Oct 08, 2018
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metter98 from New York

4.3/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Aug 12, 2018
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Budlum from Maryland

4.65/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

Jun 08, 2018
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CChafin from Virginia

4.95/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Amazing place. Beer capital of the universe!

Apr 22, 2018
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.44/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

One of the most unassuming places you'll ever visit. The first time we went, we weren't sure how to get in the building.

Food is delicious and they have a huge tap & bottle selection, including all of the top VA breweries & some of their own beers. This is a must stop every time in Richmond.

Mar 03, 2018
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avalon07 from South Carolina

4.56/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

V: A nice, low-key vibe all around. Mekong has a big, wide open seating area with a long bar. A few TVs are mounted on the walls all around the bar area. It's not overly fancy or anything, but that's the way it should be.

Q: A high level of quality with the beers here - nothing stale to report.

S: The bartender was quite friendly and prompt, and knew a bit a about the beers he was serving. Can't ask for much more than that.

S: An excellent selection of beer, all on draft. Lots of local / state (The Veil, Ocelot, Triple Crossing), national (Prairie, Knee Deep, Dogfish Head), and foreign (BFM, De Dolle, Alvinne). They also had a handful of beers from The Answer Brewpub next door. Overall, a wisely chosen selection.

F: Fantastic food. I tried the pho and a spring roll, both of which were excellent.

Jan 21, 2018
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Beerbuddha from Florida

4/5  rDev -12.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Jan 02, 2018
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eluvah from New York

4.64/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Stopped in Richmond on way home from Florida. Checked BA for a place in Richmond and saw the reviews so I had to see it for myself. It did not disappoint. One of the best beer selections I have seen. Had a Russian River/Firestone collaboration and a Belgium strong ale. Pho soup was unbelievable. The server asked how I heard about the place and told him BA. He was very nice to us on a very busy night. Not sure when I will be back in Richmond but I will definitely stop back if I am in the area.

Dec 31, 2017
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Nichols33 from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Nov 13, 2017
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DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

4.59/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Aug 05, 2017
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Billolick from New York

4.34/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

First, thanks to the forums and the great BA's that responded to my request for info I was able to make this the first beer stop on my journey from NY to Augusta, GA.

Super tasty Vietnameese food and a load of quality brews on is good... I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and a few tasty, fresh and local drafts...well worth stopping at if you are passing through...I'd be a regular if I was a local...

Jun 28, 2017
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Bcraft11 from North Carolina

4.58/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Jun 06, 2017
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acurtis from New Jersey

3.84/5  rDev -16.3%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Apr 26, 2017
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev -12.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The vibe is pretty much like any other Asian style restaurant so I didn't think that was too special. The service was good. The selection is very impressive and the food was actually very good too.

Apr 23, 2017
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Roguer from Connecticut

3.91/5  rDev -14.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Huge selection of legitimate craft offerings from around the states as well as Belgium. Some real quality offerings as well, to go alongside more commonplace IPAs, saisons, stouts, sours, et al.

I have no experience with Vietnamese food, so I can't compare and contrast. It's quite good , though.

Apr 01, 2017
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vikingpillager from Illinois

4.8/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Don't let the unassuming exterior fool you--this place is amazing! Top notch Vietnamese food, cool relaxed atmosphere, and a love of serving huge varieties of excellent beer that is essentially unparalleled!!

The Answer Brewpub is attached so you can easily make this a near-full day experience!

Mar 06, 2017
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dbrauneis from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

This gem of great Vietnamese food would be easy to miss as it sits in an unassuming strip mall and the interior decor is basically what I expected for an Asian restaurant with the exception of the number of beer signs around on the walls. There were all sorts of folks here eating/drinking from families to groups of folks in their 20s/30s to retirees and folks came from all different ethnic backgrounds.

The beers were well poured, served at the proper temperature, with the proper amount of head, and in proper glassware.

The service was quite good - attentive, quick, and friendly. The servers were knowledgeable about both the food and the beer and I heard them offer suggestions for both to other patrons around us as well as explaining some of the dishes to first time diners (of Vietnamese food).

I have never seen a beer list like this in a Vietnamese restaurant (I've been lucky in most previous Vietnamese restaurants to have a choice between 5-6 different American Adjunct/Euro Pale Lagers) and it rivaled many of the really good beer places I have visited in other cities. 50 taps of craft with a focus on local Richmond breweries (including some rarer offerings) and Belgian style beers. I wish that I had a driver with me so that I could have tried more of the options available.

Possibly the best Pho broth that I have ever tasted. Food was excellent, I would stop by on any trip taking me through (or by) Richmond even if it did not have the incredible beer selection. Only minutes from I-95 for folks passing through.

Feb 05, 2017
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ha-sheem from North Carolina

4.88/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Jan 17, 2017
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HopAttack3 from Virginia

4.53/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Oct 12, 2016
Mekong Restaurant in Richmond, VA
Place rating: 4.59 out of 5 with 160 ratings