Drunken Fish: Economical, enjoyable pan-Asian hit

If you’re dining out near LSU, you have an array of options from which to choose. Burgers at the Chimes, breakfast at Louie’s, sandwiches at Inga’s, Raising Cane’s, Raising Cane’s and Raising Cane’s.

The Drunken Fish is a pan-Asian restaurant tucked into a strip mall on the south side of campus. The brick exterior gives way to a bold interior with a flair for the décor dramatic. Though they advertise sushi — and, in fact, have an ambitious (pomegranate sauce?) menu of it — skip that and go straight for the Vietnamese. Our sushi orders were OK, but our other selections were the better choice.

Like the pho ($8.50). A fortifying beef broth swimming with tender pieces of beef and silken noodles, it was a satisfying meal. The one bowl could easily make lunch and supper, which is satisfying for the soul and for the collegiate pocketbook. Another meal, ordered to-go, was equally economical and enjoyable. The banh mi ($5), a crusty bread folded around a trio of meats, was a smaller sandwich than the po-boy afficionado may be used to, but still a hearty helping for a little price, particularly when paired with a shared appetizer like gyoza ($4.50), which are dumplings filled with pork and dipped in a salty, savory sauce.

The most expensive (non-sushi) thing we ordered was the pork, shrimp and eggroll combination vermicelli ($9). Savory, crispy, perfectly prepared bits of pork and shrimp and crisp bites of eggroll, were heaped on a pile of soft Vietnamese vermicelli noodles. A swirl of chopsticks to mix the meat, noodles and fish sauce made for a filling meal. It came with a surprisingly fresh side salad topped with cool slivers of cucumber and crispy spikes of carrot, which were a great foil for the salty, delicious bits of meat.

Just a walk away from the Tiger Stadium side of campus, this might be a choice location for not-your-average gameday fare.