Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Post Valentine's Day

I came downstairs this morning to find that my son had bought me a bouquet of red and white mums and thoughtfully put it in a vase! I'm sure his girl friend suggested it. But since he works at a grocery store, it might have been his own idea. What a nice day-after present!
Last night we tried out (belatedly) a newish Vietnamese joint at Diamond Jamboree. It is called the Pho Saigon Pearl, and it is located in the spot formerly occupied by the out-of-place Greek restaurant in this center, which is located approximately at Alton and Jamboree in Irvine. I had been intending to get there for a while, but only got around to it now.
The place made a pleasant impression, even from across the parking lot, with its aesthetically pleasing sign, and the room was also easy on the eyes, not the overly fussy, tchotchke laden place that Asian restaurants sometimes are (for example, I can think of one where the food is wonderful, but the decor busy as the 405, with year-round Christmas lights draped around laughing Buddhas, and stuff hanging off the ceiling.
The menu was even better, with excellent choices by the dozen. It took a few minutes of thinking to decide which of the 20 or so configurations each of pho, rice dishes, bun, and side dishes we would opt for. Richard went for the seafood pho, which came packed with the usual chunks of squid, fishballs, shrimp, Krab, etc. The broth was sturdy, not the kind of weak and tepid dishwater one often gets in such places. My lemon grass chicken was very good, sliced thin, which helped to distribute the tasty sauce/spices better than the usual chunks. The shredded beets and daikon made an attractive confetti on the plate, and they were also tasty with the meal.
Spring rolls arrived a bit belatedly, accompanying the meal rather than as an appetizer. However, they were tightly packed and perfectly rolled, a lovely accompaniment to the rest of the meal, with a rich and spicy peanut sauce for dipping.
For dessert, I ordered an iced lychee drink, which made the perfect ending to the meal.
And best of all, the price was reasonable, unlike most of the other places at this center. Parking is always a challenge, but I think I now know the secret to getting a spot at this always-busy center. For the past two times I visited, I've parked in the same spot, one others apparently scorn, but which I regard as fine. I won't say where it is, only that it isn't as impossible as it seems to park at this place, even at prime dinner hour on the busiest restaurant day of the year.
Visit the Pearl soon, if you are local. If not, peruse the website just for fun! phosaigonpearl


marly youmans said...

And here we are with only Fookin John to choose from!

There's supposed to be a good new Cambodian place in Utica, so next time I go in that direction...

Robbi N. said...

Fookin John?
By the way, the flowers weren't for me! Jeremy's girlfriend had left them here by mistake. He gave my vase away without asking me, it seems. Oh well.