Ben Ngu is a sister Vietnamese restaurant from Little Saigon stalwart Ngu Binh, with a bigger strip mall location north of the 22 freeway and a slightly larger menu. Mai Tran founded Ngu Binh, and Thanh Nhan T. Bach and Andy Cong are the names listed on Ben Ngu’s business license. I’m not exactly sure of the new restaurant’s operational dynamics, but I did enjoy Ben Ngu as much as Ngu Binh, along with a great new take on surf and turf.
Com Suon Tom Rim ($7.90) features a stack of caramelized spare ribs and shell-on shrimp infused with a potent red sauce crafted with fish sauce, garlic, chiles, sugar and more. The pork meat is tender and pulls easily from cartilage and bone. Shrimp is a sweet canvas for that sauce, which builds funky intensity with every bite. To take the edge off, Ben Ngu serves each order with a mound of steamed white rice and slices of cooling tomato and cucumber.