I went with a group of friends last night to a new Pho place on Sunset Blvd. called Pho Cafe. I cannot comment on it's authenticity, but the food was terrific!
The interior is really striking in a spare way, all white walls with big glass globe lights over each table. The tables are in a long single row (tightly spaced and a tad loud) down the center of the narrow restaurant. Definitely hip looking (The crowd as well as the design...).
We came in about 9pm and were told there would be a 20 minute wait and almost threw in the towel. I am glad we did not however because we were seated easily with in 5 mins. There were five of us squeezed around a four person table, but the atmosphere is very convivial and the tight seating made it natural and fun to talk with the patrons at the tables near us. It was good to hear what other folks ordered and enjoyed.
We started with 2 types of egg rolls (veggie tofu with vermicelli and chicken and also shrimp with mushrooms) They were both hot, crispy and delicious. We also had spring rolls with shrimp, grilled steak marinated in lemongrass, vermicelli, and herbs (my favorite appie), as well as a Vietnamese crepe with veggies, herbs, and shrimp (which was a little boring)
After that three of us had hot Pho (Rice noodle soup) and two of us had cold Bun (cold vermicelli). The Phos were Pho Tai (rare steak and rice noodles with herbs), Pho Ga (chicken rice noodles and herbs). The broth was delicous; clear with just a little fish sauce & served with rice noodles, bean sprouts, wedge of lime, herbs. I generally like my noodles spicy (not burn your mouth off, but I need a little kick), I found the broth to be a little bland, but certainly very good. They have hot sauces to add and some of us did just that.
The final pho was a little more adventuresome as it had chicken gizzards and livers as well as young fertilized egg. I thought it was delicious, but a couple of us refused to even try it!
Our cold dishes were even better than the Pho. Cold noodles topped with a variety of ingredients including: egg rolls, shrimp, beef, peanuts, sprouts tofu, etc. The sauce was very nice, slightly sweet, but not cloying...very bright tasting!
We wanted to have some of the Vietnamese beers off the menu, but they were not serving them (license problems?). There was a liquor store in the same strip mall so we got ourselves a little wine there (certainly no corkage). I ended the meal with a wild Chrysanthemum Hot Tea. Very fragrant!
The Bill came to 52.25 (pre-tax and tip)
I recommend this place highly. They serve til Midnight (yippee!!) and do take out as well. Cash Only.
PHO CAFE 2841 West Sunset Blvd (at Silverlake Blvd)