The distinctive flavor of shrimp, interestingly, also went missing in the prawn crackers ($2), those pastel-colored undulations of flash-fried rice flour that, when gathered on a plate, look like miniature versions of all those fake-rock Class M planet surfaces Kirk, Spock, and the gang were forever beaming down to. Despite the prawn deficit, we inhaled them.
One of the liveliest preparations on the menu is beef ribs in OK sauce ($6). The ribs are knuckle-size, and the meat's a little tough you must use your fingers for efficient separating of flesh from bone but the sauce is sensational. It looks like cherry Jell-O that hasn't yet set and combines elements of sweetness and barbecue savory to near-addictive effect. We were scooping up the last of it with spoons long after the final bone had been stripped bare.
Dessert means bananas, fried. We opted for honey ($2.95) rather than vanilla ice cream, on a wan theory of calorie containment. But it probably didn't make much difference in the end, since either way you end up with a half dozen banana fritters: chunks of the fruit dunked in egg batter and deep-fried until golden. We couldn't finish them.
V2 occupies a midblock storefront, which means it's basically a large shoe box with a single set of windows, looking southeast. Nonetheless, the visual flavor is clean and modern, from the cinnamon-colored bamboo floors to the serene beige paint scheme on the walls, along with a few photographs of Kuala Lumpur. As in all such simple, Spartan spaces, noise is a concern; the shrieks and giggles of a trio of iPod-equipped young women several tables away filled the restaurant and actually made us flinch a few times. But that's so often the way it is with neighbors. *
Mon.Fri., 11 a.m.8:30 p.m.; Sat., 12:308 p.m.
518 Bryant, SF
Beer and wine license pending