My first time ordering from Lily, a new Vietnamese spot in the Richmond, I was stressed out - in a good way. Everything on the menu sounded incredible, so I spent the better part of an hour rereading it, unsure of how exactly to narrow down my choices. A few coin flips later, I was on my way, and issuing a mental apology to the dishes I’d passed on. (Don’t worry, op la breakfast banh mi, I’ll be back for you soon.) But once I took my first bite of the duck chao, I knew I’d made the right decision. The warm bowl of rice porridge was topped with pomegranate seeds, cilantro, scallions, and its crown jewel: a beautiful, slow-cooked leg of duck I could pull apart with a spoon. I also tried the French dip pho bo banh mi, a behemoth of a sandwich with five-spice roast beef, pate, hoisin, and shallot mayo, and a side of pho au jus I drank every last bit of. Both dishes were delicious and jam-packed with flavor - and I’ll be back very, very soon to methodically work my way through the rest of the menu.
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