After having it on my scope for a long time, finally made it. Nondescript location on San Gabriel Blvd. in Rosemead, south of 10 Freeway. The place was empty at lunch (3 other tables were occupied) and Vietnamese MTV was on the two plasma TVs.
We ordered the spring rolls (my colleague loves them and uses them to gauge Vietnamese restaurants). Even though the rolls were not as flavorlful, we fell in love with the sweet dipping sauce - nam pla with sugar and freshly minced garlic - outstanding combination.
We looked at all the exotic meat sections (snake, fox, kangaroo etc.) and seafood, and were planning to order the lemongrass and chilli pork and goat meat hotpot, but the daughter and mother combo at the next table (my guess, could have been some other relationship) said "Looks like you are here for the first time - why not get the fried fish combo - almost everyone does" - we had passed it over when the waiter suggested ($25 for an order for 2 - can actually feed 3 easily). My colleague was more interested in it, so we changed our order and went with their signature dish. It was simply superb. As with Bo Bay Mon (7 course beef) the acoutrements were standard (paper thin rice wrappers, herbs, lettuce, sliced carrots, daikon, cucumber, bean sprouts) with the addition of sweet and sour tamarind sauce and thin rice noodles. But the catfish was amazing - meat tender sweet, falling off the bones, covered with crunchy crushed peanuts, to be wrapped in the rice wrappers with other items, wrapped like a burrito and dipped in the dipping sauces.
Next time we will try the goat ribs and other more adventurous dishes. But for today - I am happy!
Phong Dinh, 2643 N. San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead;