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Wok the Ph贸?
October 8, 2009, 1:59 am
Filed under: Beer, Grub | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Food *****
Beer Selection ****
Service ***
Atmosphere ****
Eye Candy the way you’re slurping?

***** WOW | **** Damn Good | *** nice | ** average | * WACK

What is better than a big, steamy bowl of goodness? Nothing according to Anthony Bourdain. Neat, simple, and brightly lit, Ph贸 Cafe dishes out just that: big bowls of action packed ph贸, including vegetarian friendly options!

First, the place has no sign which makes it terribly hard to find. However, the glowing interior shines through the glass storefront to help catch the eye. Upon walking in the first thing I noticed was that they carry a great (and my favorite) Asian light lager, Taiwan Beer. For some reason or another this is not a common beer to find in restaurants. Needless to say, this delighted me greatly and was enough to rank them high on the beer selection 馃槢

I went with a bowl of the whole shabang, rare beef, meat balls, tendon, and tripe…then added tofu. Of course, it came with the requisite sides of basil, bean sprouts, jalape帽o, and limes (all fresh, juicy, and aromatic). The broth is nice. Not too salty nor lacking in flavor. All the while maintaining its clarity, as you can see from the pic above. All the usual condiments reside on the table (Hoisin, Sambal, Siracha), but the broth is good enough that you don’t have to add any sauces except to make it spicy. I can say now that the addition of tofu was a bit ambitious and I left with an uncomfortably full belly. Don’t get me wrong, at around $8 a bowl I’m not at all complaining.

I would easily return to Ph贸 Cafe as this has been the best ph贸 experience I’ve had in LA. Cheap, clean, simple, and delicious, it has all the right ingredients. The place is pretty popular so expect a short wait and don’t plan on bringing the whole entourage.

  • 4 people is a good sized party
  • Plan on waiting if during peak dining hours
  • Date friendly
  • Same plaza as Rambutan Thai

Silverlake Barbarella
June 19, 2009, 6:16 pm
Filed under: American, Beer, Booze, Grub, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Barbarella taps

Maximum 3====D
Food 3==D
Beer 3====D
Service 3==D
Atmosphere 3===D
Eye Candy 3===D

The same people that opened the Bungalow Club bring a beer haven to Silverlake in the form of Barbarella Bar. The name may evoke images of surreal space scenery with shiny outfits and phallic rockets reminiscent of the movie…don’t worry, it’s not that tacky. The place is spacious and pretty massive sprawling 4300 square feet with high ceilings so elbow room is plentiful.

There isn’t much wow factor to the menu but ingredients are fresh and local when possible which is a plus. The fare is pretty standard consisting of some appies like modified bruschettas and Ahi Tar Tar, both of which were good but not “OMG I just creamed my pants” good. Items like pumpkin ravioli, mac & cheese, burgers and pizza comprise the entree section. While this is far from the most innovative menu in town, it is accessible and gets the job done for a decent price with quality ingredients. The mac & cheese hits the spot.

Bartenders and servers are attractive, friendly and maintain the leather and heels sort of ambiance. However, their knowledge on the available taps is disappointing to say the least. I didn’t order wine so I can’t speak to their level of expertise in that sense, but when I ask if a beer is on nitro I don’t expect bewildered looks from both server and bartender. Nonetheless, their tap selection is impressive with about 25 varieties ranging from SoCal hop to Belgian malt. I had the Old Rasputin on nitro which was tight, but I wouldn’t have known had I been relying on the staff to tell me.

For those of you curious about this nitro nonsense, here’s the skinny: Conventionally beers are carbon dioxide carbonated. On nitrogen the bubbles are finer and make for a creamier, softer mouth feel (that’s what she said) typically used with stouts and porters.

Overall, I would say that the tap selection is the big draw while the food is mildly above pedestrian and the price point is reasonable for both. The majority female staff balances the heavily male population of the East LA scene while providing enjoyable scenery and ample opportunity for light conversation. Will definitely go back for drinks, but dinner would mostly be out of convenience.

  • Don’t expect the staff to know much about their beers
  • Service is friendly pleasant to look at
  • Good place for a group to meet or to start/end the night
  • Again, more of a group spot than a date thing
  • I saw Keanu Reeves and his beard there