Went to Pho So 1 again after a six-month absence and its still great.
Several tables had the beef dish that you cook right there on your own table, so we decided to try it. They bring out a tabletop rig, complete with a lit Sterno which provides the heat. The meat is sliced thin like Korean BBQ, and has light seasoning and peanuts on top. Its served with a dipping sauce and rice pancakes (like tortillas, but rice) that you can use to roll up the meat (we also put some carrots and bean sprouts in there). This dish is okay, but not as good as any Korean BBQ in town. The novelty is nice if you havent experienced cooking your own food at your table, but we wont be ordering it again.
The Pho on the other hand was top drawer. My wife thought it had too much basil, but I really liked it. I love the pungent spices, which taste like clove, star anise and cinnamon. Its very good.
All this and a beer for under $20.
And like the last time we went, we had to go to the Ranch 99 market after dinner. I always look forward to going to the large Asian markets. Its like an amusement park of exotic foods. From the live lobsters and crabs, to the beautifully fresh produce, to all the little cans of stuff that you cant read because theyre in another language. Its like going to a museum. And we always end up buying stuff weve never tried before. Usually, when we taste the new stuff, its nothing like we expected. But occasionally, well hit a home run and find something we really like. Such was the case this time with some dried mangoes that were wonderful.
Pho So 1 and the 99 Ranch Market
Sepulveda just North of Victory
San Fernando Valley