If you’re looking for the Vietnamese epic meal “seven courses of beef” in San Francisco, the two main choices are Pagolac and Anh Hong. Anh Hong seems to have the edge on authenticity, but that doesn’t mean it’s the all-out winner. sfbing breaks it down:

Pagolac: “Tiny salad plates and gringo-sized portions of rice paper.”
Anh Hong: Larger portions, and better “overall authenticity.”

Pagolac: “The service is slow if pleasant.”
Anh Hong: “Pretty brusque but brutally efficient, which is important if you’re trying to do seven courses of beef with a party of greater than four.”

Pagolac: Meat quality is “better,” particularly “the raw beef dish featuring beautiful bright red slices in a sweet-tart sauce with onions.”
Anh Hong: Beef is marinated “to the point where it resembles boiled pork.” (Robert Lauriston counters that the Berkeley branch served it nice and raw.)

Pagolac: “Cops out on the banh hoi rice cakes … they use a quickie fake version with thick rice noodles and cornstarch.”
Anh Hong: The real deal, made from rice dough: “I would strongly recommend adding one or two of the banh hoi dishes to complement the seven courses.”

Outside of SF, Robert Lauriston also likes the beef seven ways at Saigon Kitchen. But the $28 price tag for Le Cheval’s version in Oakland is kind of puzzling (most other places are under $20). Maybe it isn’t worth it: ML8000 says that crab in season and lemongrass beef are the must-orders there, but “stray from that and things slip quickly.” But no matter what you have at Le Cheval, the superior cocktails make it all better, notes susancinsf.

Pagolac [Tenderloin]
655 Larkin Street, San Francisco

Anh Hong [Tenderloin]
808 Geary Street, San Francisco

Anh Hong [South Bay]
1818 Tully Road #150, San Jose

Anh Hong [East Bay]
2067 University Avenue, Berkeley

Anh Hong [South Bay]
243 W. Calaveras Boulevard, Milpitas

Saigon Kitchen [South Bay]
1111 Story Road, San Jose

Le Cheval [East Bay]
1007 Clay Street, Oakland

Board Link: Vietnamese 7 Courses of Beef
A surprise at Le Cheval

See more articles