Today I had lunch at the Glendale Pho Company
The newer establishment on Glendale Ave and Broadway just below Trader Joes and across from the Jewel City Bowl.
I’ve been wanting to go ever since it opened- it looks hip and cool and I have a soft spot for all sorts of Vietnamese food. Even the really suspicious stuff that does not have an English translation.
The first thing you have to know
is that this place was NOT designed for the commuter. Parking is nearly impossible. The minuscule lot is verboten to restaurant guests from 11AM to 6PM and there is simply no street parking. The business plan must be to serve the workers in the nearby city buildings.
I was treated to the expected “hip and cool” interior. This restaurant looks like it could easily be in Silver Lake or Eagle Rock. The menu was unsurprising. Eggrolls, Bunn (cold vermicelli noodles), pho with various meat combinations and a few “grilled bit of meat over rice” dishes. My daughter had the pork chops over rice- it was nice.
My husband and I like to order the traditional Pho at any new place. A steaming bowl of Pho beef broth with the noodles and various beef parts, some of them too exotic for delicate occidental ears to hear. A new addition, for me, was the beef ball- a Vietnamese product that I generally treat with healthy suspicion. While these beef balls had that funny, almost rubbery, texture common with the dish, the flavor was wonderful. Garlicky, a tiny, tiny, bit spicy and fragrant with something like 5 spice powder. Yum.
The various beef parts, however, were very tough.
I loved the broth, though. Traditional Pho broth calls for simmering ox tails and other meaty boones for about 16 and a half years. It is perfumed with 5 spice powder, cinnamon and star anise. It should be rich enough that it has body, but it should not be greasy. To get broth like that, I have had to haul myself down to Chinatown. This was a very close second.
This place has promise, and I hope they improve some of the weak spots. The lack of parking kills it as a lunch spot, for me, but I would like to go back to try their Bunn or a rice dish.