Hours: L & D, daily.
Quyen is a unique, dual-purpose enterprise: up front it's a pan-Asian bistro and buffet with some of the best Vietnamese food in town; in the back it's a kids' play-place complete with skeeball and air hockey. The entrées span southeast Asia, from owner Quyen Tiet's native Vietnam to Japan, the Philippines, and Thailand. The all-you-can-eat lunch buffet shies away from the heavy fried stuff and focuses instead on cold vegetable and noodle salads, stir-fried shrimp, chicken, and beef dishes, and — if you can believe it — a large selection of fresh sushi, too, including everything from standard salmon and tuna nigiri to flashy concoctions with tempura, tuna, and crab. The real star of the show, though, is the beef pho, a Vietnamese one-pot delicacy. It's a big bowl of succulent, steaming beef broth into which you add thinly sliced rare beef, tender brisket, onions, and Thai basil leaves. Indescribably complex and delicious, the thin silky slices of beef and the bright notes of the minty basil and the lime juice elevate a bowl of beef broth into something ethereal. And that makes Quyen a party kingdom for old and young alike. —Robert Moss , Dish (Winter 2011)
Perhaps the most bizarre dining experience in Charleston, but if you're looking for authentic Vietnamese, this is your place. Pho, beef kabobs, lemongrass beef noodles alongside cheeseburgers, quesadillas, and pizza.