Restaurant encore

SN&R Illustration By Mark Stivers

Vientiane, in West Sacramento, was long a favorite of the local food scene, but it did have its drawbacks, namely, a seedy location and barn-like space. Then, upheaval struck: The original owners went back to Laos, cousins took over, and the restaurant closed. Well, it’s re-opened now, in a more compact spot that’s bright, clean, fresh and, frankly, more convenient for those of us crossing the river for a food fix (it’s just south of the Capital City Freeway, on Jefferson Boulevard). It’s a relief to be away from the row of seedy motels. The food is still delicious: the stuffed chicken wings still peppery and complex and the tom kha gai soup still light and sparkling with bright flavors of lemon grass. A bowl of simple, comforting noodle soup came garnished with fried onion and a lot of black pepper, and the caramel pork and fried pomfret are still on the menu. In short, we can all be glad Vientiane is back. 1001 Jefferson Boulevard, West Sacramento; (916) 373-1556.