A NEW restaurant opened a mere block and a half from me on the Hill this weekend--Pacific Cafe & Grill (subtitle:) Vietnamese Restaurant (on 12th and Penn SE)
They are offering a dining in and carry out experience in the space formerly occupied by Cafe Italiano--a mediocre Italian restaurant (which may have been a front for something less innocent) that seemed to feature "brunch"--I'll say no more.
Our first Vietnamese!
Anyway...no liquor license for at least two weeks (the owner said, contradicting the waiter's claim it'd be only one week) brought frowns to the faces of my three adult companions. The two young 'uns we had with us alternately roamed in the still empty bar area, and not-yet-open-take-out nook, leaving most of the grown ups in the restaurant an opportunity to enjoy a peaceful and pretty good meal in what (I think) was the restaurant's opening day. (or at the latest, second day.)
The menu offers your standard fare (except, as of now, did I mention no liquor?) and it was all just fine. Pho comes with all the fixings, spring rolls came with a thick peanut sauce and real shrimp. Ginger Chicken was medium spicy and good. The curry shrimp was a bit disappointing--the curry sauce tasted a little bit like thin gravy with curry powder thrown in --the accompanying peas and onions didn't provide enough food to fill a person up. The four year old ordered the chicken wings which came fried and not too spicy--he ate them!
The service was surprisingly good, especially for a first day. The kids were accomodated (ie high chair, extra chopsticks for games), but not to the detriment of the other diners (they were conscientious, but not insulting about seating us a bit apart). The prices were very reasonable. We received extra napkins/water/condiments as soon as we asked.
We'll go back, especially for carry out. The owner/manager says the carryout space will also offer coffee and cake (ie muffins/bagels) in the mornings.....