I was on the westbank for business yesterday and thought it a good opportunity to meet with the Mr. for some dim sum. I swear this stuff is like crack, and I have been craving it since my very first experience in mid-June in San Fransisco. We did our homework and decided on a place next to Hong Kong Market. Unfortunately as we entered we realized that things were not as we had hoped and that they did not have the dim sum we planned our trip around. And so it was time for plan B….
Two phone calls, one blackberry gps and we were in front of Pho Tau Bay….. Yippeee! I had been waiting months for the opportunity to try this out.
Let me start by saying we are novices when it comes to Vietnamese food, but we are certainly eager. The inside of this place is slightly different from what I had pictured after much reading about it. I thought somehow that it was going to be more like a quaint restaurant atmosphere that one might expect from an upscale Asian establishment. This was,to me, more of a take-out lunch joint.
We were honestly overwhelmed by the scope of the menu as the choices were damn near limitless. My better half and I settled on sharing multiple items, expecting that each would be unlike anything we had eaten to this point. First, the Gor Luon (Vietnamese spring rolls) filled with shrimp, pork, herbs and vermicelli. At $3.50 for a half order (2 rolls) this was a very fair price. I liked this appetizer because for the most part it was light and fresh. My only complaint (and the Mr. agreed) was that the wrapper itself was a little cumbersome for the goodness that existed inside. Next, we shared both the Bo Kho (spicy beef stew) and the Banh Hoi (stir-fried lemongrass beef with peanuts, fried shallots and green onions over rice noodle patties). These were priced at $6.95 and $8.95 respectively. I thoroughly enjoyed both dishes. He said liked both, but showed preference to the Banh Hoi. To me the Banh Hoi was special because the combination of the ingredients together was remarkable. Each flavor joined and meshed with the others for a total package that was exactly as described. I don’t necessarily love meat (which you will probably read over and over on this blog) but truly enjoyed the combination of flavors in this dish. The stew was maybe my favorite, and I say maybe because I think I was like a kid in a candy store in this culinary expedition. It tasted like a vegetable soup on steroids. The carrots were sweet and the beef broth over the noodles were so comforting. Next time I am sick He Said will definitely find himself at Pho Tau Bay picking up this soup for me! Both items were utterly delicious.
Portions here were great. We couldn’t finish the food we were served and overall the value was exceptional. How could it have taken us this long to get here? I can’t wait to go back and try more new dishes. This may have been our first, but I can assure you, it won’t be our last culinary journey involving Vietnamese food.
Anyone who is on the cusp: take the plunge and go now to Pho Tau Bay. It’s awesome!