Pho La . Los Angeles
Pho is a Vietnamese dish that’s seen a recent surge in popularity. Pronounced “Phah” it consists of rice noodles in a rich flavorful broth, accompanied by meats that are cooked in the broth before eating.
My friends rave about their latest “Phah,” experiences and how great it is. I never gave it much thought, but its popularity has seen new hip and trendy Pho places springing up everywhere. I confirmed this back in January driving through West Hollywood and seeing a quick serve restaurant signed “9021 Pho.” Ugh.
Flash to last month; Caleb and I are headed to L.A. for the night and he suggests Pho for dinner. The drive north from Orange County allows plenty of time for research. I started with Yelp and found a place in trendy Silver Lake. When I read a comment about the halogen lights being too bright against the stainless steel mentally crossed it off. Ditto for “9021 Pho.”
A few reviews later found “Pho La” in L.A.’s Koreatown. Not a chain, and not in a prefab building. In fact Pho La is in a strip mall full of Korean businesses, including one of those darkened video game places where kids play real time with each other, headsets and all, until they pass out from lack of eating.
Pho-La is a minimalist place with menus and random photos adorning the wall. Bright and clean, simple the way I like it. I let Caleb pick everything out. We started with summer rolls, and for our Pho he ordered pork for him and beef strips for me. Soup is filling, especially when homemade. Pho is no different. The rich fatty broth is a meal in itself, and gives a unique flavor to the meats simmering to rareness in the broth. Rarely do you find flavors like ginger and radishes in soup, much less with meat that’s been simmering for hours.
Both of ours were regular sizes, and I couldn’t imagine finishing a large. After finishing half the beef bowl I heated it up with some hot sauce – still managing to finish a quarter more. The perfect dish or starting, or ending, a night out on the town.
They’re at 3470 West 6th Street, between Vermont and Normandie. Now to find a similar place in Denver…