Tram's Kitchen isn't the kind of place you'd go for a gourmet, upscale dining experience. In fact, you probably shouldn't expect much of this restaurant at all as the inside is, well, pretty basic.
But if you are looking for a dining experience you'd expect to find on the streets of Vietnam, all while being in our beloved Pittsburgh, Tram's Kitchen should definitely be on your radar (and if you are looking for authentic, the decor should be a good sign too!).
A Small Selection of Dishes
Once your shock about the inside of Tram's Kitchen subsides, your attention will turn to what you're going to order from the menu. In what may be our only real complaint about the restaurant, the menu itself is a bit one-sided considering the depth of cuisine available in Vietnam- but this should not be a bother to most.
The bulk of Tram's menu revolves around the hearty pho and vermicelli noodle dishes Vietnam is famous for, with each having about ten iterations on the menu. Other items include a selection of appetizers, including fresh spring rolls- something we try at every Vietnamese restaurant we visit, ample vegetarian dishes, and desserts.
My most recent visit to Tram's resulted in a sampling of the fresh Vietnamese spring rolls with shrimp, as well as a hot and spicy vermicelli noodle bowl.
The fresh spring rolls were prepared flawlessly, and although the soft rice wrapper is something most first-timers may find a bit unusual, it is an absolutely perfect recreation of what I remember from my travels around the country. The vermicelli noodle bowl was also packed full of flavor, loaded to the rim with meats and vegetables, but could've used more of an acidic kick to really pull it all together.
As much as I would've liked that extra bite for my own personal tastes, I would be doing a disservice if I did not say that it was also one of the best rice noodle bowls I've had in the city, which is a distinction I don't hand out lightly.
Would Love to See More from Tram's Kitchen
When it comes down to it, Tram's is one of those places I'd visit all of the time if the menu was a bit more varied.
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Vietnamese cuisine is one that I never got sick of eating while in the country (especially the incredible banh mi sandwiches), but this was thanks to the fact that the cuisine had so many unique items worth trying- not just pho and rice noodles. So while I may not visit Tram's Kitchen every time I start craving one of my favorite international cuisines, when I am in the mood for a hearty pho or a giant bowl of vermicelli noodles done right, you can be certain where to find me.
Tram's Kitchen is located at 4050 Penn Avenue. Be sure to bring cash as Tram's does not accept credit card.