When the Lai family decided to close its signature restaurant, Huong Que/Four Sisters, in the Eden Center this year and move to the more mainstream environs of Merrifield, it left a rather gaping hole at the Vietnamese shopping center in Falls Church. The store fronts that face the parking lot at the Eden Center are coveted positions, the kind of places that businesses located inside the grungy center would kill for (or at least maim for). Fortunately for the Lai clan, they still controlled the lease on the Huong Que space, and they knew exactly what they wanted to do with it: shift their cramped deli, Song Que, into the significantly larger spot.
The new and improved Song Que opened earlier this month in the old Four Sisters space, and it is, in a word, magnificent. It’s larger (naturally), which makes it easier to move around in without bumping into your fellow customers, but it’s also easier on the eye. There are some gorgeous, illuminated pictures of Vietnam placed discreetly over the dry-goods shelves. The place is also more user-friendly; there’s a sit-down eating area, where you can take your banh mi or bubble tea or Vietnamese dessert and quietly enjoy them while watching flatscreen TVs flicker more gorgeous imagery from the Vietnamese countryside.
Thuan Lai, the youngest son of Kim Lai and Thanh Tran, is now the manager of Song Que, and he and him mom, Thanh Tran (pictured above), have a few ideas on how to expand the menu that has served the deli so well. They’re planning to put in a grill to start serving dishes like lemongrass beef over jasmine rice; they’re also planning to expand their line of Vietnamese ice creams, among other sweet treats.
Huong Que used to a destination place at Eden Center; now, I’d say, it’s Song Que.