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Restaurants & Bars 3

Phoreign? New on Sawtelle

yokozuna | Dec 21, 200501:14 PM

So there's this new Pho place where the old teriyaki bowl place used to be right next to Manpuku.

Intrigued, me and two other friends decided to go in for a sample. We started with the standard shrimp and pork spring roll with peanut sauce. I don't know about you guys but my experiences with Vietnamese food has been three things: 1)Fast 2)Good 3)Cheap and that's really all I'm looking for. These spring rolls took about 10 minutes to come out and they were definitely on the smaller side. $5 for 4 pieces. Standard would be 6 pieces for $4. The quality was there as I'm sure they made them fresh on the spot but I have to say not worth the price. And they were really skimpy on the sauce.

Next, three bowls of Pho. 20 min wait. I think that's enough said but I'll elaborate a bit. There was a full counter of about 15 patrons, roughly 6 tables, and 3 people behind the counter cooking the food and ONE server who SLOWLY and UNATTENTIVELY made her rounds taking orders AND bussing tables. So anyway, after a very irritating 20 min for a simple bowl of Pho, it came out. It's fair to say that it was the best "looking" bowl of Pho I had ever seen. The rare beef was wrapped up like a rose and mounted in the middle of the bowl. Came with the standard bean sprouts, basil and lime with a few slices of Jalapeno. I got brisket meat with mine as well. I believe this was a Northern style (the most common) broth but it was unusually dark brown in color. Taste was decent but I was very dissatisfied with the temperature of the soup. I was only above luke warm and because of this, it took a long while for the rare meat to cook. In fact, it never really did cook all the way through. Adding cold fresh veggies and herbs didn't help the temperature either. The upside however, was that the quality of the meat was the best I'd ever had.

Prices were a bit high ($7 and up for a bowl) and I was annoyed that they only had one size. Overall I would have to say that I was quite irritated throughout the meal due to the excruciatingly slow service and luke warm soup.

I give them the benefit of the doubt because they're brand spankin' new but I don't think I'll be going back for at least 3 months to let them iron out the kinks. Even the, if I have to have a bowl of Pho on the West side, I think Pho99 on Willshire is a better option.

Oh, and the owner is Japanese so... that explains the presentation and the lack of a busser. I still don't get the soup temp... I'm still bitter about that. At least they do the ice coffee correctly.

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