This is what happened to me last night. I'd read nothing but "my God this is the best food!" reviews about this place, so I walked into Green Leaf with lofty expectations. And you know what? I just don't get it.
We started our meal with the shrimp and pork-filled spring rolls. They had a straw of fried dough in them that gave the rolls an awesome crunch. There was a hint of herb but not enough. And maybe they were out of pork? Nowhere in sight or in taste. Pretty good spring rolls, but nobody was making any When Harry Met Sally noises.
The vermicelli combo arrived next, thin rice noodles topped with grilled pork, chicken, a fried egg roll and some herbs and lettuce. We doctored the vermicelli with some sambal (chili sauce) and the sweetened fish sauce (delivered with tiny shavings of carrot). The meat was great--dark from a good, hot grill fire. We were sharing this dish and we didn't get quite enough so we ordered another one, this time with all grilled chicken. We raced for the hunks of meat. They should just sell a huge plate of the chicken. It's great.
Then the lemongrass shrimp arrived. I was worried when I could see the twiggy lemongrass puree coating the shrimp, and I was right: it was over-the-top with that soapy lemongrass flavor. Ed said it tasted like Pledge. And it was served with undercooked hunks of onion. Really, not very good.
We left satisfied but somewhat bewildered. It was good, but not so good that we were wowed. I'll probably go back to try the pho (I just can't order hot soup on a warm summer evening), but I can't help but wonder: Am I missing something? Or are there are others out there, secretly thinking to themselves when they hear the endless Green Leaf raves, "I just don't get it."