Recently heard the owners of China Town's Via Cafe opened a Viet spot in the Old Bank District Downtown. Thanks to tips gleaned from Chowhound, J Gold, Oishii Eats, etc, I've had the good fortune of experiencing a wide array of Vietnamese eats over the past few years and have become border-line fanatical about favorites like Golden Deli, Brodard, Mr. Baguette, even Blue Hen.
As a Downtown resident and worker who makes frequent, tiresome lunch and dinner trips to the SGV and day trips to Westminster of all places - I was amped to hear about a potentially legit place within walking distance from home/work!!!
Bottom line: Blossom Restaurant is a great little addition to the downtown eat-scape. It's not the "for us, by us" type of place that one would expect in traditionally Vietnamese hubs of the city, but something not all together different. A tiny place run by young, urban, Vietnamese-American owners with barren walls, exposed kitchen, street noise, concrete and cranked up jazz - it's menu stays pretty true [more so than the fusiony leanings of Via] and food is the absolute focus.
Started with Cha Gio. 4 to an order here [not 5], skinnier and not as haphazardly rolled as the Golden Deli standards. Blossom's spring rolls were surprisingly fresh-tasting and cleaner than what I've become accustomed to at GD and Vietnam House. After taking a bite without the complements - I rolled one up with some herbal pickings from the relatively ample table salad, pickled/shredded carrot & daikon, cucumber and took a bite... Wow. My taste buds weren't calling for San Gabriel. They must be doing something right.
Mains were split between two of us... Com Suon Nuong and a bowl of Pho Chay. The Com Suon Nuong - two nicely charbroiled, garlicky pork chops - was served with a fluffy tomato paste fried rice and a side salad. Again, nicely charred, but tender not dry. Towards the end, I didn't hesitate to pick these up and eat off the bone... hound status.
The veggie pho broth was surprisingly tasty on it's own [chicken stock?] - with harmonious hints of ginger and cinnamon - and didn't seem as MSG laden as bowls I've had elsewhere. My dining partner isn't a fan of adding Sriracha, hoisin or lime but she's game for all the herbs, mint and sprouts. I found the straight-laced veggie tastes comforting that rainy night. Noodles were a dried, prepackaged variety... Good stuff. I wondered aloud how the Pho Dac Biet would turn out on my next trip. I'll soon see...
Blossom serves a variety of teas and other interesting drinks which are as tasty and expertly made as Via Cafe's. Unfortunately, at this early, quirky and kinky stage in the service game - they were never refilled. Other than that, not a complaint to discuss. Here I must mention that nearly every table was filled... a good cross section of folks from neighboring lofts, a young Vietnamese mother and her two kids... and the take out business they were doing was brisk. With a few additional servers/staff, this place will be a well oiled machine.
I'm pretty ecstatic that they're on the block and am sure other Downtown hounds will [and do] feel the same. Getrification via authentic Vietnamese restaurants? Only in LA. Can't wait to master the rest of the menu at Blossom.
426 S. Main
451 Gin Ling Way