BOO KOO, a Southeast Asian eatery, is perfectly tailored to the downtown Mill Valley set: the menu is predominantly vegan, with optional wild/free-range/ grass-fed protein toppers and locally sourced ingredients comprising the street food–inspired dishes; the draft beer list is lengthy and local; and there’s a kids’ menu. Add the recent expansion and prime location — a busy corner across from the Depot Plaza — and you have a perfect package for hungry Marinites.
The majority of Boo Koo’s offerings are conceptualized and created by the cofounders, husband-and-wife team Matt Holmes and Megan Vinson. Vinson grew up in Lindsay, California, a region known for its agriculture. “I would describe my style and skill set as an untrained but highly enthusiastic home chef gone wild,” she says of her kitchen antics. Despite her humility, Vinson continues to lead her team in creating Northern California–influenced Asian street food. “You are highly unlikely to find wok-seared Brussels sprouts or homemade ginger sodas in the streets of Saigon, but you will find them in Mill Valley,” Vinson says. “We hope to provide a relaxing atmosphere along with an alternative to the town’s menu of burgers and pizza.” Here, Vinson shares her take on bo luc lac, or shaking beef.
Shaking Beef with Watercress
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon minced serrano chili
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (less if you like a less salty flavor)
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 pound flank steak, cubed
- 6 ounces cooked rice noodles
- 3 cups watercress (stems removed and torn into bite-size pieces)
- ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoon rice bran oil
- For dressing, combine lime juice, chili, sugar and fish sauce in a bowl and set aside.
- For sauce, combine oyster and soy sauces in a separate bowl.
- Add beef to sauce mixture and coat evenly.
- Place noodles on serving plate.
- Top with watercress and onion and position tomato wedges around the side.
- Warm oil in skillet or wok over high heat.
- Add beef and stir-fry for about 3 minutes.
- Pour beef and juices from the pan over the salad mixture.
- Top with dressing and serve immediately.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline: “Saigon Meets Mill Valley”.