As at many steakhouses, you can eat like a cow, per your budget, at Seven Beef. With a $100 gift card and knowledge that Seven Beef belongs to Eric and Sophie Banh (of Monsoon and Ba Bar fame), two of us skipped the wide variety of steak cuts and instead opted to do the $40 per person Bò 7 Món: the classic Vietnamese seven course beef dinner.
What’s this like, you wonder? It’s a parade of beef (often house-ground and in sausage or patty form) dishes served with vegetables, herbs and other ingredients—with a major part of the meal offering a hands-on chance to experiment and personalize your dining experience.
Note that the seven courses don’t come individually, so it’s not as prolonged an affair as you might imagine. Our only solo dish was the first: goi bo, a beef salad with pickles, fresh herbs and nuoc cham vinaigrette. The only “steak” of the meal, this would be my favorite bite of beef.
Next came a gorgeous platter containing bo mo chai (beef and pork sausage wrapped in caul fat with fresh garlic and five spice), bo la lot (beef, pork and jicama wrapped in la lot leaves), and bo nuong sa (beef and pork grilled with fresh lemongrass). Mix and match meats with pickled vegetables, apple and pineapple slices, and herbs, placing your items in a lettuce leaf to make a wrap to dip in mam nem—a pungent sauce with anchovies and pineapple. Was it the caul fat that made me like the bo mo chai best? The earthiness of the la lot leaves made it my second favorite of the platter.
With that platter, though seemingly out of place (perhaps better paired with the first course) came bo nhung dam. Described as beef in vinegar sauce, this carpaccio was a little flat in flavor and my least favorite course of the meal.
The final two courses were bo cha dum (steamed patties of beef, pork, wood-ear mushrooms and glass noodles) and chao bo (beef congee with mung beans, green onions and cilantro). I especially enjoyed the congee, full of flavor and accompanied by crunchy shrimp chips for texture.
Bò 7 món makes for a plentiful meal, though if you have a big appetite, you might want to order a starter or two before the beef arrives. (If on the menu, the shrimp cocktail packs good horseradish punch.) Or save room for dessert. The kitchen gifted us a beautiful Bavarian cream napoleon with strawberry-lychee compote. The pastry part of the millefeuille played well with the perfect Bavarian cream, earning the Asian compliment of being “not too sweet”—though certainly a sweet finish to a very satisfying meal.