Nam A's a new Vietnamese place that moved into the old space on the second floor previously occupied by Buddha's Delight (now in a new street level location).
The plate of three coloured rice (3 kinds of pork) was excellent. First, a tender, juicy bone-in pork chop, marinated with (among other things) soy sauce and perhaps a tiny whiff of lemongrass and grilled. Then, shredded pork skin that comes dusted with (I think) ground peanuts for frangrance and a pleasant sandy texture. Lastly, a moist slice of steamed egg, terrine-like, filled with minced pork and mung bean threads.
The menu consists of mostly dishes for individuals: rice plates and the usual broad noodle varieties. There's also a one page menu inset of a small number of main dishes. Based on the very enjoyable rice plate, I think this place has some potential, and might merit further checking out.
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Nam Vang needs no introduction -- there's even a recent thread about it a few days ago. The grilled lemongrass chicken featured an expertly cut thigh, the meat unrolled from the bone into a filet of uniform thickness suitable for grilling. Lemongrass flavour was rather subtle but the meat itself was pleasanted seasoned and wonderfully cooked from the dry heat to a nice texture, firm, yet moist and supple.
The glass of coconut drink with good pieces of juicy white coconut flesh from the interiors mades me wish they had brought out the whole coconut with a hole on top and a straw and spoon.
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Pho Vietnam is decent and fine, but not particularly special.
The bowl of pho was competent, with a thin decently flavoured broth but not exceptional.
Beef in lot leaves featured plenty of juicy beef sausages (I was expecting minced beef) wrapped in emerald leaves. I missed the complexity of flavours that the lot leaves usually imparts but the dish was fine and well dressed by the tangy sweet heat from a chilli dip.
I'm used to minimalist oily red-yellow chicken curries with soft cooked chicken and potatoes. (Remember having something like this here years ago ina Vietnamese place in Chinatown that I've forgotten.) In this chicken curry rice plate, pieces of chicken breast seem to have been stir-fried with an assortment of vegetables before covered with a curry and coconut milk sauce that lacks the oily fragrance. Not particularly moving.
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It begins like dark Cleopatra, rich and imperious. It is a luxuriant flood. It ends like drop-dead Marlene Dietrich as Tanya in Touch of Evil, quipping huskily to Capt. Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles) in a border bordello: "I didn't recognize you. You should lay off those candy bars." It leaves a sweet, throaty bitterness, a faint round chocolate sour and a thousand points of darkness on the tongue. A hot chocolate that has seduced many chowhounds.