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Friday, October 9, 2009

Royal Pho

Royal Pho
1717 E. Vista Way,
Vista, CA 92084
Open 10 to 9, 7 days a week

Friends and long time blog readers know that we love ethnic food, the spicier the better. Unfortunately, besides mex, there are not a lot of options around these parts, except for Yama, our local sushi bar. Last week Leslie and I were driving to Vista and noticed a vietnamese restaurant had opened up in Vista. It's really not too far from home.

We went there for dinner last night. It is located in a small strip mall. The lights were not turned on when we drove by and we almost missed it. Decor is spartan and slightly funky, usually a good sign with both vietnamese and chinese restaurants. Steve Stoops and I eat a lot of vietnamese on the road and we have learned to steer clear of the fancy palaces.

We were practically by ourselves when we arrived and were greeted warmly by the very friendly and happy waitress. The menu is really pretty expansive for a small restaurant with a large selection of vegetarian items. Portions were large and the food was relatively inexpensive.

We started our meal with lettuce wrapped cha gio egg rolls with large portions of mint. They were generous and delicious.

Pho is the staple of vietnamese cooking, a noodle soup with various cuts of meat added. We ordered a large bowl of Tai Gau Pho with rare steak and brisket. It was lovely and fragrant with a five spice cinnamon type smell.  We added a bit of sliced jalepeno, cilantro, mung beans and mint.

We went on to share a Banh Xeo Chay, or vietnamese crepe, which was a bit greasy for our taste.  I have had it better elsewhere.

Our last dish was a bowl of spicy shrimp over vermicelli with carrots, cucumbers and peanuts. It was delightful, refreshing and my wife's favorite dish.

Leslie drank a perfect pot of jasmine tea.  I had two glasses of the homemade lemonade.  Lemonade always tastes better in Vietnamese restaurants, like iced coffee in Thai restaurants.

I am by no means an expert on this cuisine but I look forward to exploring more of it and learning its nuances and secrets.  I want to try the Pho with the tripe next time and the salty garlic squid.

Royal Pho rates maybe a 6.5/7 on my supercritical culinary scale. Food was cheap and got to the table quickly. It's all we have nearbye and there are many dishes there waiting to be discovered. Maybe with some of you?

'The person who says
it can't be done
should not interrupt
the person doing it.'
Chinese Proverb


grumpy said...

yeah, i've this place out of the corner of my eye, as i drive into Vista; it's about midway between Ciao and Chili Coast, my two current faves in that town, there on E. Vista Way; for sure i will try it, soon; i remember eating at a Vietnamese place in Tucson, near the university, in December; it was very informal and unpretentious, like you describe Royal Pho, but very good; thanks for the tip.

Blue Heron said...

Chili Coast is the best burger around, bar none.

grumpy said...

yesterday i met up with some folks from my church, at Nessy's, on our way to Julian, to do some work at Camp Stevens, the longtime Episcopal retreat there, which got fairly toasted in the fires a few years ago; even though it was only a bit after 9:00, i couldn't resist the urge, so i ordered the Nessy burger; which was good, almost very good i'd say; still, you're right, it's no match for Chili Coast; whose fries are the best, also; a small order can feed two people easily, more like three; we did cleanup work for a few hours on a jobsite there for a new chapel, which is being designed by the artist/architect Jim Hubbell, who was onsite, gently directing us and helping out; such a sweet guy and a wonderful artist.