So a while back, when I was chatting with Sante Salvoni about his departure from the Slow Club, we got to talking about our favorite restaurants in the City. (It happens.) I have him to thank for turning me on to the quirky ~YUMMY YUMMY~ for Vietnamese food out in the Avenues. You will seriously feast here, and for total peanuts. Don't let the crazy fuchsia color scheme and odd décor deter you—and if it does, then you have no sense of humor.
So let's get you started. It's hard to say no to imperial rolls ($5.50), and these definitely passed my very exacting crispy/savory/scrumptious test. They come with lettuce, vermicelli, and good ole fish sauce, hello. I've been told the pho here is a little disappointing, and others seem to dig it; as for me, I only go to Turtle Tower for pho (or maybe PPQ Pho Phu Quoc Vietnamese out near 19th if I'm way out in those parts)—I just get disappointed anywhere else.
The dish Yummy x 2 totally rocks is the goi bo ($6.50), the raw sliced beef salad with mint, onion, and peanuts, plus a sprinkling of crispy onion bits. You can squirt a little lemon on top, but I prefer the fish sauce drizzle (a patented move, that). Or add both, make it a party.
We also dug into the com ga quay chao (five-spice chicken) ($6.50), which comes pounded flat. Take THAT. It's one of their specialties, so if you're into chicken, have at it. You can also order it with a fried egg on top. We decided to ignore the garnish of pathetically out-of-season tomato. It makes me wonder, why even bother to put it on the plate? Oh wait, I said we ignored it, and here I am, talking about it.
So here's where the serious danger of the massive array of all this cheap food comes in: order overload. We also tucked into some mon an banh hoi, DIY grilled meat/rice paper/vermicelli/veggie wraps. We opted for the pork ($11.25), which was fine, but next time I'm gonna get a posse to return with me and go for the combo grilled plate ($17.95), with chicken, pork, beef, and the sugarcane shrimp and discover which meat they really do best.
Servers are sweet (like, really super sweet) and swift, the place is packed (although not as much as the delicious San Tung next door—more on that joint another day) and you get out of there for a song (not even an expensive pop song, perhaps more like a bootleg). You'll also probably leave with a pile of leftovers, even after stuffing yourself like a little piggy. I have barely even scratched the surface of the rather extensive menu (eel anyone?), so if any of you make it out there (or is a regular), please report back on what roxx you! I'd love to know what are their other golden children on the menu. (I don't literally mean children, of course.)
Cross: 11th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94122