Dream Berrie Café sports a puzzling, if not comical, name and offers an unusual combination of foods, Vietnamese cuisine and frozen yogurt. The café, situated in a strip center on South Sherwood Forest Boulevard, is a convenient, casual place for a family meal, a dessert break or both.
The café’s interior is bright and cheerful, decorated in yellow, purple and chartreuse with contemporary chrome and laminated tables in yellow and green. Customers can order food to go at the spacious counter with dishes listed on the wallboard or wait to be served on the outside patio or in the interior seating area. One side of the café is totally devoted to self-serve, wall-mounted yogurt machines (more about this later). We chose the air-conditioned seating area and took our time reading the menu. Since the dishes are written in English as well as Vietnamese, we quickly placed our orders, and were surprised at how fast beautifully prepared dishes arrived from the kitchen.
Since Vietnamese food is known for its delicate combinations of flavors, we were pleasantly pleased with our meals and the artful presentation of the dishes. The cuisine is prepared with extremely fresh ingredients and cooked with almost no oil. The dishes are great options for people on low-fat diets.
The yummy Vietnamese egg rolls ($3.99) were filled with finely chopped chicken, pork and carrots, wrapped in rice paper and fried to a crispy, deep golden hue. The four egg rolls were served with a light, sweetened dipping sauce enhanced with a few pepper flakes and finely grated carrots. The large steamed pork dumplings ($3.99), six to an order, were filled with finely chopped pork. The texture of the dough was delightfully tender, not chewy as in some Asian dumplings we’ve had in the past. For a different experience, the shrimp spring rolls ($3.99), wrapped in a translucent rice paper, were packed with three seasoned medium-sized shrimp, shredded lettuce, cilantro and chopped rice vermicelli. They were served cold with a delicious sweet, brown sauce accented with chopped peanuts.
For an outstanding meal, the rice vermicelli bowl ($10.99) is a superb combination of grilled chicken, pork and shrimp served in a large bowl over a generous amount of shredded cucumbers and lettuces, crispy bean sprouts, pickled shredded carrots and daikon, accented with the café’s sweet fish sauce and chopped peanuts. The meats were grilled to perfection and the vegetables were cold, fresh and crisp. More exotic in flavor and texture, the Vietnamese steamed rice crepe with ham ($9.99) featured thin slices of Vietnamese ham, a very mild flavored pressed ham (somewhat like a non-salty Spam) served with a large helping of gelatinous steamed rice crepes topped with fried shallots and finely chopped green onions. A generous helping of bean sprouts were served on the side with the dipping sauce.
Especially filling and flavorful is the café’s noodle soup. The rare eye of round soup ($7.99) is a very large bowl of soup containing paper-thin slices of round steak cooked in its broth along with a generous amount of vermicelli noodles. It’s served with a side plate of bean sprouts, slices of jalapeno peppers, lime and large sprig of Vietnamese basil. The diner can add as much of these ingredients as he/she chooses. The spicy heat of the jalapeno and the tangy lime juice, along with the fragrant, sweet basil, created a marvelous combination of flavor in the broth. Here’s a tip : Enjoy most of the broth first. Then, eat the meat and vermicelli noodles second.
For dessert, we sampled several of the café’s frozen yogurts. Flavors range from vanilla and chocolate to strawberry and blackberry.
We found the dark chocolate and espresso yogurts especially dreamy (perhaps the reason for the café’s name). Non-yogurt lovers can choose from several sorbets. We liked the cold mango sorbet with fresh mango and pineapple toppings and the pink lemonade sorbet topped with blueberries and blackberries.
Dream Berrie has an exceptionally friendly staff. The café is spotlessly clean, efficient and fun.