Friday, December 07, 2007

Viet Noodle Bar: A Work in Progress

This is the front at 3133 Glendale sign

I love the Bauhaus-meets-Kerouac look of the new Viet Noodle Bar in Atwater, with dozens of beatniky tomes piled haphazardly along the length of the restaurant. Paul Bowles? Check? F. Scott Fitzgerald biography? Check. "Paris in the Twenties"? Check. I love that there's no sign, and that everyone eating there looks exactly alike (30ish, glasses, slightly scruffy, yet attractive), and that Daily Candy thought people might have trouble finding the remote outpost of Atwater. Perfect for solo diners...lots of reading material
I just wish Viet Noodle Bar had opened with a few more menu items, especially some pho or something else warming on a blustery day like today. For now there's a jackfruit salad, spring rolls (the raw kind, not the fried kind), Viet tamales, which are rice flour pancakes and shrimp steamed in a banana leaf, and two kinds of cold noodles: turmeric whitefish and a vegetarian model. There's also the supposedly super-healthy deep green pennywort drink and Vietnamese coffee. That's about it for now, although the owner says new items are coming soon.
Whitefish bun noodles ($8)
The whitefish was nicely spiced with a curryish crust, although the noodles needed a few extra sauces to moisten them up. Cute place, but please...bring on the pho!
They're open for lunch and dinner until 11 every day (and closed from 3-5 in the afternoon).


Eugene Ridenour said...

i ate there on Thursday and enjoyed the scene and space it self. i was disappointed by the lack of items on the menu. i think its unfortunate for a restuarant to open and say more coming soon while offering basically 4 dishes. but we liked it nonetheless. i wonder when we should go back for more??? nice addition to Atwater. Which, btw, is shaping up nicely.

AVN said...

But... there is a sign! By the door! See? It's right there! Can't you see the one-inch tall lettering at waist level on the glass while driving by at 40mph?

Doran said...

No Pho?!? How can that be?

Still, it looks cool. I look forward to checking it out.

Bsquared said...

There is a place in Hanoi called Cha Ca Lavuong. They only serve ONE dish (fried fish with dill). They don't even have a menu. BUT, this place is so good, it is mentioned in the "1000 Things to Do Before You Die" book.

Many good Vietnamese restaurants specialize in a few dishes. That is what they call the Dac Biet (or special). Personally, I am suspicious of a place that tries to be too many things to too many people.

I love Pho, but there are so many things beyond Pho in Vietnamese cuisine. Get over to Alhambra and have some Bun Bo Hue. Now that's Old School.

Sounds worth giving a try but I have been disappointed by some of the "Slacker Pho" restaurants that have turned up.

tannaz sassooni said...

i love your description of the people there. i can't comment on attractiveness, but you've got me pegged on all the others. and i'll be there yet again tonight with my slightly scruffy cousin who lives upstairs from kaldi a few doors down and is very happy about the new addition to his neighborhood.