Here's a round-up of revisits......
Pho Ban Mai:
Man, I hadn't been here since September of last year. I was thinking of having some Banh Xeo and this seemed just the spot. Not much has changed since my last visit...very clean, tables a bit too close together.....
I was quite hungry and thought some Bi Cuon would do as a nice start.
The wrappers were done a bit too thick and wrapped real tight. Actually, not much in here, the Bi really lacked flavor and was on the dry side. The nuoc mam cham is still good here, not watered down and not too sweet.
Then of course, my "crepe" appeared. It looked pretty much the same as on previous visits, perhaps not as crunchy, but still pretty good.
Overall, still the same.....not too much filling, but what's there is done nicely. The pork tender, the shrimp not overdone, and not too greasy.
As with previous visits, the service here is quite "modern".....no dealing of the menu with someone standing over you, water was refilled, etc..... I would probably visit more often if we lived closer.
Pho Ban Mai
8991 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92126
Yes, yet again. The Missus was still a bit bitter about the nem nuong cuon at Dat Thanh and wanted to use this as a sanity check. It was quite busy when we arrived, I had never been seated almost at the west end of the restaurant before.
I had decided on getting the Banh Mi Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew with Bread), but suddenly shifted when I sat down. After chatting with the Missus, I thought why not do about the same thing we did at Dat Thanh.....
Starting with Goi Cuon (spring rolls).
These were wrapped a bit too thick, but did have a good quantity of herbs for flavor. The pork was quite tasty overall. Of course, texturally, I was missing that nice crunch that fried egg roll wrappers added to the spring rolls at Dat Thanh and Brodard, but these were nice....the Missus loves the peanut sauce here....She went through three and a half little bowls!
Next up, the Nem Nuong Cuon......
In terms of flavor, this was nice...the grilled pork "sausage" was decently flavored and caramelized....good flavors from the herbs, not as heavily wrapped as the goi cuon. Kind of one note in texture. Still, this was better than I expected.
To end things up, I decided to order what I think is the most expensive item on the menu, the Com Tam Dac Biet - house special broken rice, which is something like $9.65. I'd never had that here and really didn't expect much, but it was a rather pleasant surprise.
The Missus thought the pork chop was pretty good, I thought it a bit too salty and not sweet enough. The grilled shrimp were overcooked and under flavored. The Bi was decent but mostly just skin, without enough rice powder which adds so much to it. The cha, steamed egg was nice...I'd expected it to be dry, but it was pretty good, nice flavor. The Missus loved the sugar cane shrimp....She just loved it and I think has a new favorite here. The broken rice was moist but not very fragrant. Not in the same league as the top notch com tam places, but better than I expected.
Is it just me, or has service here gotten a bit nicer....other than the woman who runs the register, over the years? Or perhaps I've just gotten used to it.
9326 Mira Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92126
Actually, about a week before this, Cathy, Carol, Dennis, and myself had one of our all too rare get togethers. We gathered because one of our favorite, now quite inactive (with good reason), fellow food bloggers, Sawyer was visiting. As always it was a great time....though you'll have to depend on someone else to post about it..... The place Carol and Cathy choose was Que Huong, a perfect place for a family style meal....and those wings, of course....which I hadn't had in a while.
Funny thing, about a week after that meal, I was craving those wings. The Missus had a girls night out, so I decided to head to Que Huong and have some wings. Which I had all to my greedy self....
I've heard folks tell me that these were on the small side....but I like the skin to meat ratio...you can have all the fat meat laden wings you want...heck, why not just have a thigh while you're at it? These do fine by me. The other thing is, you need to eat them here right when they get to the table; it's maximum crunch and peak flavor....
Anyway, Jay, one of the owners told me he's going through a thousand pounds of wings a month now...sheesh. Jay also told me that his mom was in the kitchen and seeing that I was looking for something lighter to go with my wings, she had made a simple salad of roasted chicken with rau ram and onions. Hey, if mom's making it, I'd better order it, right?
This was pretty good, lots of black pepper, very simply put together, an entire leg - thigh and drum of chicken stripped topped some lettuce. The combination of the citrus-pepper-cilantro flavor of the rau ram, the pungency of the onions, cut with lime for that nice acidic touch was really good. I'm thinking of making this at home.......so simple, yet it really livened my palate.
As did those chicken wings....
Que Huong Restaurant
4134 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92105