888 Pan Asian Restaurant - Austin, TX
Can't decide between Thai, Chinese or Vietnamese? No need to worry because 888 Pan Asian is the place for you. The menu is fairly robust with lots of choices for you. And be prepared for a wait on a busy night, but not too long because the service is pretty quick.
I'll start with how I ended up here. You want to talk about a random food adventure. Well folks, it can't really get any more random that this selection. I was driving around Austin one time, kind of lost but kind of not. I sometimes take the long way back to my hotel so I can explore a little. I'm never really lost because my GPS is always set to my temporary home away from home. I was driving down this random (for an out-of-towner) street and saw "888" in bright red neon in my peripheral vision. It definitely caught my attention. I was intrigued enough to Google it and found out that it served awesome Asian food so on the bucket list it went. I was not expecting it to be a hot spot.
It was a Thursday night around 8 when I finally made it in for dinner. After work I did some retro video game shopping for The Prof so I had built up an appetite. There was a 30 minute wait, at 8pm, on a Thursday. I was shocked. It's a good size restaurant, but you do have to wait outside. Although it was a cold night, they had some outdoor heaters on so it was definitely managble. After I arrived even more people came and waited as well. A lot of people also came and went with take out orders. And I can totally understand why. Really awesome food.
I couldn't say no to a staple, the fresh spring rolls. I've decided you can't really mess up a spring roll. It's shrimp, sometimes pork, wrapped with veggies and noddles in a rice paper wrapper. What makes a good spring roll stand out is the freshness of the ingredients. And 888 was definitely that, light and refreshing, even for it's size. These rolls were one of the bigger ones I've had, but worth every bite. There's more than enough to share.
It took me forever to decide because they truly offer staples from Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. I landed on his super-yummy-wish-I-could-have-eaten-all-my-leftovers dish. It's noodles stir fried with beef and veggies. It's not too often I rave about veggies, but these ones are definitely worthy of praise. They were perfectly sautéed, tender yet crispy. The beef was tender as well, sliced thin and went well with the noodles. It was tossed in the most delicious sauce I've had in a long time. I was traveling the next day so that's why I couldn't enjoy the leftovers, but they had to be awesome. The server said their green and red curries are popular too along with their American style Chinese dishes like General Saos chicken. He also mentioned you can get any breaded chicken dish without the breading so there are healthy options if you're looking for some.
888 Pan Aisan should definitely be on your Austin bucket list, especially if you're looking for something sort of off the beaten path. Although judging by how many people were there, it's not exactly a secret that they serve great food. It's less fussy than going downtown or trying to find parking off SoCo. Don't get me wrong. I love going downtown or SoCo, but there are just times when I don't want to deal with all that. Let me know if you been there before and what is your favorite dish.