Well we went back to Irvington to try a new Vietnamese joint that opened right next to Batters. They have a restaurant in Westfield, by the same name and evidently business is good.
Like most Asian places around here they have excellent lunch specials all in the sub $7 range and all come with a choice of egg roll, spring roll or soup. To start things off we decided on a fish cake appetizer for 6 bucks.
These are shredded fish and potato cakes and are pretty good. They have a nice flavor with the slightest hint of spice on the back-end. They have an odd texture. By odd I don’t mean off-putting or gross I merely mean it is unique to me. I enjoyed them but I think I would have liked a more assertive sauce. They served a Mae Ploy sauce; that ubiquitous bottled sweet chili that is so popular. It is a fine sauce just rather sweet for these cakes.
After our app we got our spring rolls. I prefer spring rolls over egg rolls possibly because they aren’t fried.
These were big, nicely constructed and full of “stuff”. One complaint is the peanut sauce. Too thick and too sweet. It was like a little dish of pudding. However that is a very small complaint compared to the size of the spring roll.
Pat chose from the stir fry section of the special menu.
I had to go with Pho. I mean the place has Pho in its name. Normally I would get a beef Pho. Thin slices of raw beef in the broth. However this time I thought I would be adventurous and go with meatball . Asian meatballs are different from Western meatballs in that the meat is pounded not minced and adding fish to the beef and, or pork is not uncommon. Every bowl of Pho must have a plate of garishment.
This plate was a bit light compared to some Pho I have had. It consisted of a lime wedge, 2 jalapeno slices some basil and a whole bunch of mung bean sprouts.
This was a very good bowl of food. I would be happy to try it again if I were in the area and hackering for a Pho fix. The food is not so unique as to make this a destination. However if your normal joint is getting boring give this a try. Or if you are in the Irvington area for some of the Christmas festivities give it a try. If I lived here I would be ecstatic that they moved in. Just one more option for lunch or dinner.
This restaurant is very new. It is at the corner of Thompson Road and US 31. A pretty busy intersection. Pat lives very close by so he was intrigued when he saw the fancy sign going up. He learned from chatting with the owner that this is his first joint and he plans on doing all of his advertising by “social media”. He does have a very nice website.
The place is on the small side but still can seat a bunch of bodies. It is very tastefully decorated in what I would call a Classical Asian style.
The menu is very traditional,offering several luncheon specials for $7.88, and a pretty good beer and wine list as well. As a general rule I don’t dig Asian beer so I usually stick with water as my beverage of choice.
This is the soup and Spring Roll that comes with each lunch entrée. The soup was a spicy,broth concoction with a few pieces of mushroom and tofu and some cilantro leaves. I agree with Pat. It was a bit spicy and very good. The roll was crunchy and crisp with vegetables. It would stand on its own as an appetizer.
The last few times we have gone to Thai joints I was determined to get some wide rice noodles. Euphemistically referred to as ” drunken noodles”. However, when I do something “shiny” on the menu distracts me and I don’t. This time it was pineapple, water chestnuts and sticky rice all dressed up in a tomato sweet and sour. Now how could I resist.
As you may expect it was an excellent dish. Full of flavor and tremendous textural components it was a wonderful lunch.
I know there are several Thai places around the city but I think we can support one more and I think this joint is worth considering.
I just had one of the best lunches I have had in a long time, pho sure. Admittedly my knowledge of Asian cooking is limited. I have had Vietnamese food a few times. So today was a wonderful treat.
We started off with 2 appetizers. Spring rolls with fish sauce and Goi rolls with a special plum sauce. The spring rolls were typical deep-fried won ton wrapped pork and veggie rolls. The atypical part was the fish sauce. It had a slight sweet and sour effect. More like a gastric than your typical “duck sauce”. It also had shredded daikon and carrot that added a slight textural difference that meshed well with the savory sweet sauce and the fried pork and carrot. And this wonderful little plate was $2.49.
As for the goi rolls. My o my. Large rolls of,shrimp, pork, veggies and rice noodles in rice paper. They were as tasty as they were pretty. The sauce they served with it was a plum sauce with roasted peanuts. Plum sauce is slightly sweet with the viscosity akin to apple butter. It has a small savory component but when you add the peanuts it blows up. The texture of the nuts, the almost smokiness of the roasting;very impressive. And you too can experience the delight for only $ 3.20
For my main dish I had to try the Rare Beef Pho. Tender slices of beef and rice noodles in a beef broth. That might sound tame enough but the hook is the accompanying plate of condiments. Fresh Thai basil, lime, cilantro and a few slices of fresh chile. The idea is to add the veggies to your bowl to infuse it with the flavors. The aroma is amazing. The taste is beyond that. The bowl was full of meat and noodles and I ordered the small, for $7.95.
Pat order pho as well. Chicken pho.
So… pho a really great and economical lunch you gotta’ go to Pho 54. I scanned the menu and I was going to make a pdf. But I decided to include a link to their website instead. I am going to put the menu on Urbanspoon. So everybody can see what they offer. http://www.indypho54.com/