In the House

Jasmine House

Richard insisted we order garlic noodles -- luscious strands of egg noodle sautéed with butter, garlic, and a dash of Parmesan cheese (Jasmine House's own invention). Naturally, the noodles called for a whole, roasted crab, triggering a messy ritual that involved crab crackers, metal probes, and an addictive search for bits of sweet Dungeness that simply had to take a dip in a buttery garlic-pepper sauce. Richard's other choice, catfish in a clay pot, provided my favorite taste of the night: succulent chunks of fish simmered in an intense fish sauce-based gravy redolent of cilantro. Our final entree -- cubes of tender beef stir-fried with tomato, onion, pepper, and garlic, known as bo luc lac (shaking beef) -- held its own compared to most versions, and was livened up with a side of lemon juice laced with salt and pepper.

Details

Vietnamese crepe $8.95

Chicken salad $6.95

Hot and sour soup $8.95

Garlic noodles $5.95

Roasted crabmarket price

Catfish in clay pot $9.50

Fried banana $3.95

668-3382

Open for dinner every night from 5 to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday), for lunch on weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Reservations accepted

Wheelchair accessible

Parking: difficult

Muni: 2

Noise level: low to moderate

2301 Clement (at 24th Avenue)

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At the beginning of our meal, I figured I'd take home at least three to-go boxes, so the greatest tribute to Jasmine House may be that though the portions were large the three of us finished every last scrap -- and still had an appetite for dessert. Bananas are always excellent but are even more so when fried; ours came enveloped in a chewy yet crisp skin, the flesh warm, sweet, and full of flavor. The final taste of the night was the funkiest: pockets of sweet red and yellow beans served in a fountain glass with coconut milk and noodlelike shreds of green gelatin, topped with coconut ice cream to form a sort of Vietnamese sundae. I'd order it again, but only if Jasmine House was out of fried bananas. Incredibly, I stilldidn't feel full, but as we stood to leave the food shifted a bit, and I got an idea of what it's like to be 10 months pregnant. It might be a bad feeling after, say, a Las Vegas buffet, but it was quite wonderful following the many delights of Jasmine House.

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