With a name like Sunflower, you might expect some kind of hippie sandwich shop with colorful artwork and coffee drinks named after musicians.
Instead, Sunflower is one of those indistinct Asian restaurants hidden in an ordinary shopping center. Surrounded by other Asian restaurants and grocery stores on Research Boulevard, it's pretty easy to miss. And if you're craving Asian food, why choose this place over any of the others in the same shopping center?
I'm not sure, honestly. Some friends said, "Let's go to Sunflower. It's Vietnamese food." So we went, and once we got there, I realized I had been there before but I didn't remember the name (remember -- indistinct Asian restaurant). But I did remember that the food was good. Really good considering the price. I've only been to a handful of Vietnamese restaurants in Austin, but I'll go ahead and name Sunflower as my favorite.
I can't remember exactly what I had the first time I was there, but I do remember my friend ordering a vegetarian crepe that was pretty good. This time, I had the lemongrass tofu vermicelli bowl, which is pretty white-person thing to order. I could've been more adventurous, but there's always next time, I guess.
It was good, though, and what I love about vermicelli bowls is how full they are, practically running over with noodles and been sprouts and shredded veggies and tofu/meat. They seem bottomless, and I'm always full about half-way through, meaning I have significant leftovers. Two meals in one!
My only complaint is that one of my friends told our server that she had a severe peanut allergy, and her curry was served garnished with peanuts. She told them again she had a peanut allergy, and all they did was scrape off the peanuts. Finally, she got a new plate of peanut-free curry, but it serves as a warning if you have nut allergies.
Otherwise, Sunflower is good cheap food.
Location: 8557 Research Boulevard, at the end of the shopping center right of Target
Accepts: Cash and credit cards, but has a $10 minimum on cards
Price: under $10
Rating: 3 stars
Bottom line: Not as indistinct as it looks.