January 9, 2008 5

Viet Noodle Bar (Atwater Village)

By in 05: Silver Lake + Echo Park, Favorite Food Entries

The much hyped (from Silver Lake people) Vietnamese Soy Cafe on Hyperion have such odd opening hours that it seems eternally closed for almost every day of the week. Then I heard about the newly opened sister cafe called Viet Noodle Bar nearby.

Like Viet Soy, the name of the cafe is barely noticeable from outside. Interior is extremely minimal with only a bar and a communal table. The bar seats face a library of very carefully chosen read books. Mandarin songs from 30s-40s Shanghai were the soundtrack of that afternoon.

Appertizer: Banh Nam $5 Fine ground shrimp and rice flour wrap in banana leafs. Clean tasting, need to season with fish sauce. It’d be more aromatic and flavorful if they use stronger dried shrimps and more herbs.

Despite being called Noodle Bar, there’re basically only 4 items. Pho (chicken or vegetarian) and Bun (fish or vegetarian). My eyes nearly pop out at the $9 a bowl price.
Bun with Tumeric White Fish and Dill $9. Fresh and homemade tasting, it’s light but tasty. The fish seems to be lightly fried with egg coatings (?). The tumeric flavor is not dominating but stood out well. The noodle seemed homemade as they’re are very thick and imperfect, but I love the texture. The portion is a bit small though.

Chicken Broth Pho $9 Rather bland tasting.

Good Homemade Soymilk $3 each. One with Mate and Sesame. Then the waitress recommended us their Soy Curd with Ginger $3, hmm sounds yum…turns out it’s your usual Tofu Fa, albeit a well made one (smooth and silky).

I try to appreciate them for what they are: simple, clean, fresh, organic and healthy homemade Vietnamese food with a hip ‘in the know’ vibe. But I can’t help shaking my head over the idea of $9 a bowl of small bland pho.

June 2009: Now this place has became one of my favorites. I keep coming back for their Bun with Tumeric White Fish and Dill.

I also tried their Lemongrass Beef Noodle:
Not as good as the fish but not a bad alternate.

Viet Noodle Bar (323) 906-1575
3133 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90039

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5 Responses to “Viet Noodle Bar (Atwater Village)”

  1. Louise says:

    I’ve gone there twice. The food is decent, but I agree about the pricing. For $9 I expect a BIG bowl of pho.

    I like their dill/tumeric fish + bun better than their pho. I think it’s the best thing on the menu. Serving is still too small though.

    I really like their vietnamese tamales though. I just wish there was more of it.

  2. Our excitement turned a little dismal when we ordered a $9 bowl of pho….without an herb plate! Not one sprout, sprig of basil or even a wedge of lime to accompany this mediocre pho. No basil or even a sprout offering to a bowl of pho , at least for a Viet, is almost sacrilegious. Did your chicken pho come with any vegetable accompaniments?
    We ordered a few more items ( which was pretty much most of the menu) and some were tasty, but the portions were quite small for the price tag.

  3. seat says:

    Half of that $9 goes to paying the “hip in the know vibe”…

  4. Freda says:

    Whit on Rice Couple: yeah no bean sprout nor basil accompanying the pho for us as well.

    Louise: I agree, the dill/tumeric fish bun is pretty much the only noodle to get here.

    Seat: yup they charge that because they know they can (in the name of ‘homemade’ and hip neighborhood).

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