Monday, November 23, 2009
Chris and I went to this little Vietnamese place, Nha Toi , which translates to "My House", and this proved to be a very appropriate name. It was basically like being in the living room of the chef/owner, a young Vietnamese-American guy, who was playing chess at the table next to us, only jumping up to help in the kitchen when he noticed that one of our meals was taking 20 minutes longer to come out than the other one.
Meanwhile they were projecting a movie over our heads and the owner's mom was standing behind us, totally absorbed in the movie and screaming at the screen. It was something suspenseful about a wrongly accused man being sent to the gas chamber, and as the poison traveled down the I.V., closer and closer to the man's innocent veins, the lady was shouting "No! No! Save Him! Why Can't They DO Something?!" as if she were watching a real execution on a close circuit monitor.
I would guess that she often reacts to movies like that from the way the owner, who was now in the kitchen, called out wearily "Mom, please! Not tonight. People are trying to eat!" It was a little more awkward intimacy than I usually like with my noodles, but the food was fresh and tasty.
The fried spring roll were just as they should be: like plump little skinless loose sausages of pork and shrimp wrapped in homemade skins, fried black in some places and served with crisp lettuce to wrap them in and funky, pungent and sweet nuoc nam dipping sauce. The Pork Pho was not spectacular, though, I would have liked some more aromatics and richness to the broth. Maybe I should have gone with a traditional beef pho. Chris got a vegetarian pho which he declared "fresh tasting" despite being slightly "salty"- which is like a 7.5 for him.