Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pho and Pork Rolls c/o Ha Saigon

So I read the City Paper's food blog pretty regularly, as I'm always looking to know where all the hip happening food action is going down. Last month I read about how the management, cooking and wait staff of Pho Ha had all, a long while back, jumped ship and moved elsewhere and then moved elsewhere again to Ha Saigon. This made perfect sense to me because the first time I had pho from Pho Ha, my parents and I agreed that it was some sort of magic, above average pho. On my subsequent visits my hankering for pho was certainly met, but something was missing. And now I know what it was. So, after reading the article, I was determined to try Ha Saigon and enlisted L. in this pursuit. The new location is on Oregon Avenue in another Asian shopping complex I didn't know existed. I went with the rare steak/brisket combo, a hot French coffee and the barbeque pork rolls. The pho was delicious. Unlike Pho Ha, however, the menu doesn't give you as much permission to specialize how you want it (more broth, less noodles, more meat, more fat etc etc), but when we both asked for more broth, less noodles, it seemed like that was generally respected.

I had thought that the French-style Vietnamese coffee always came with condensed milk, so I was a little surprised to be milk free in this cup. This coffee was so strong that without the overwhelming sweetness of the milk, drinking it was a little daunting.
Ok. These rolls. These rolls were good. Well, the pork in the rolls was good. More than good. Really good. Like, surprisingly and tantalizingly good. Sweet and fatty but smoky and tender. I don't know. Just amazing.
It's a big space and it wasn't completely packed when we went, but there was a steady stream of Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese customers throughout our meal. At the end a lady manager (maybe owner?) came up and talked to us. She asked how we had heard of the place and we enthusiastically complimented her on the whole thing. Sometimes when I'm writing about a meal that pleased me I start really, really wanting to eat it again. Luckily for me, that is already the plan for later on this afternoon.

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