Lido Restaurant: Vietnamese, Chinese and French, but nothing really French about it
Lido Restaurant is located at 2518 N. Military Avenue in the Asian District just off Classen Blvd (map). They are open Monday through Saturday from 10:30am to 9pm. You can reach them at 405.521.1902. All major credit cards accepted.
Lately, I’ve been tired of cooking for myself and have had an insatiable desire for Asian food. I have a string of Asian restaurant reviews coming soon and hope I don’t have a heart-attack from all the MSG I feel like I’m consuming (just so you know, it makes food much more delicious despite what critics of the flavor enhancer say). Anyway, several people have dropped the name Lido around me so it sparked my curiosity enough to give it a try. Legend says that Lido was the original Vietnamese restaurant to open up in Oklahoma City with success. The influx of new immigrants, however, has allowed newer and better restaurants to open up around Oklahoma City. In my experience, Lido is an ok option, but there are many other places that offer better Chinese/Vietnamese food, often for less money.
If you look at the sign outside of Lido, it says “Vietnamese, Chinese and French Cuisine,” but when you look at the four items found in the “French Specialties” section on their 164 item menu, you’ll see Diced Filet Mignon, Mushroom Pork Chop, Mushroom Garlic Shrimp . . . and then you’ll notice Korean BBQ Beef ribs. The last time I checked, Seoul is about 5,500 miles from Paris. I don’t know about you, but I was scratching my head on that one. I was hoping that the food wasn’t going to be plagued with the same sense of culinary confusion.
Besides the frog leg dishes, all the menu items were typical of most Chinese/Vietnamese restaurants. Nothing really stuck out. However, conveniently located under the tabletob glass are various specials that actually caught my attention. For $12.95, I had the Sizzling Fish Special. You can choose from various types of fish, so I went with salmon in the mushroom garlic sauce (mushroom black bean and sweet & sour sauce are also available). It also comes with your choice of steamed or fried rice and soup (egg drop or hot & sour).
The hot & sour soup I had was disappointing. I’ve had Chinese delivery soup with much better flavor. But I held out hope that the sizzling fish would surely change the course of this meal. It came out similar to how Mexican fajita dishes are presented, nice and sizzling hot on a metal skillet. The sight of it definitely whetted my appetite. It had a nice array of vegetables (baby corn, cilantro, peas, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, celery, bell peppers and spinach) with deep-fried, crusted fish covered in sauce. Unfortunately, it looked a little better than it tasted, but it was alright. At least it satisfied my big appetite.
I’d heard that the vermicelli noodle dishes are the best thing to get at Lido, so I decided to visit one more time. I ordered the charbroiled shrimp bowl ($8.95 dinner, $7.55 lunch). The dish includes your choice of meat or shrimp, with cucumbers, carrots, and peanuts on a bed of thin vermicelli noodles, plus bean sprouts and shredded lettuce. This includes a small bowl of Nuoc Mam (watered-down fish sauce) that you pour in the bowl to add flavor, and to help loosen up the noodles. This dish was ok, but the shrimp was overcooked and the flavors didn’t really pop out to me. It’s worth adding a few squirts of Sriracha sauce (Vietnamese chili sauce) to give it a little kick if you like a bit of spice. I’m not saying it was bad, but I just think many places, including Pho Cuong (3016 N. Classen Blvd. – review to come) up the street, offer better, and cheaper, variations of this dish with more flavor.
Since I haven’t even come close to making a dent in the massive selection of dishes, I know I can’t give a fully comprehensive review of Lido, but based on the few things I have tried and the less-than-satisfied comments from a few friends of mine, I know there are several other restaurants that do a much better job with Chinese/Vietnamese food.
That’s my take. What’s yours? If you’ve had a better (or worse) experience at Lido we’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.