phony pho

May 3, 2006 at 5:10 am (mirepoix)

This past weekend, I was able to check out Le Colonial with my friends from San Diego and my friend's grad school cohort.

On the way to SF, I was stuck in Friday rush hour commute, took a wrong exit at SFO and ended up taking BART from So. SF to Powell Street and trekking around Nob Hill to the restaurant. I figured that taking BART was probably cheaper than paying the $15 for parking. I HATE driving in SF looking for parking. Enough said.

The restaurant was absolutely beautiful and by the time I finally made it to the restaurant, it was dark and candles illuminated the restaurant, making it seem like the perfect, "You are a cutie patootie and I think I like you but why don't we sit a little closer and get to know each other better" first date-type of restaurant. Upstairs, a live band performed for most of the evening. (or at least a kick-ass speaker system that tricks our brains into thinking there's one there)

When I got the the restaurant, everyone had already ordered drinks and were chosing their fare for the evening. After playing musical chairs, I ordered a yummy mojito and stole a piece of Jerry's Goi Cuon, a spring roll with cilantro, shrimp, rice noodles, bean sprouts, mint with a peanut dipping sauce. Though it was tasty, it was something you could order at any standard Vietnamese joint, sans the $11 price tag. Ouch!

Another friend in our party ordered the Pho Vit, a duck noodle soup. The server brought out a bowl with shredded duck atop rice noodles and set it in front of lucky contestant #1. He walked away, muttering that he'd be right back with the broth. Shortly after, he came back with a metal tureen and proceeded to pour the broth into the bowl. Another friend at the table asked the server if he could fill the bowl just a little more. At $9, it was a little pricey to be shorted on the broth, no?

I had ordered Vit Quay, which was a seared Muscovy duck breast with foie gras butter atop a bed of spicy banana heart leaves. The duck was good, however, the dish came out cooler than I had expected it to be. The banana heart leaves were quite tough and bland, except for the spiciness of the chopped jalapenos that were tossed with it. Altogether, the dish didn't hold together well and I opted to eat the duck with a chicken fried rice side dish we ordered to share as a table.

All around, we were not impressed by the entrees. However, the desserts were quite the saving grace, though we all did have to share:

…pineapple upside down cake, coconut flan, mango profiteroles, and a TO DIE FOR chocolate lava cake. I was lovin' the chocolate cake so much I think I tried to lick the plate.

At one point, the exec. chef Mike Yakura came out. You might remember him:

He was standing right in back of you, Et, and you didn't even know it!

I'm glad he didn't talk to us, though, maybe Jerry could have given him a few pointers or two…

It was fun, anyhow ( :

Other notable weekend food adventures:

Golden Gate Bakery

Egg Custard Tarts & Baked Char Shiu Bao

(The family that runs this place occasionally takes a 2 month siesta so don't be alarmed if it's closed when you go. It's better to call ahead. Be ready for phat lines.)

1029 Grant Ave, San Francisco, 94133

New Hong Kong Sun Restaurant

Scallop and Abalone Congee with Fried Doughnuts & Fried Oysters

606 Broadway, San Francisco, 94133


Peking Duck with Pancakes, Duck Chow Mein

(This place was the only spot open late night around town. My favorite is the skin, sandwiched between the bleach white siu-bao dough and slivers of green onion, brushed lightly with hoisin sauce… heaven!!! This was hands down a better use of fowl than my duck at Le Colonial.)

3288A Pierce St., Richmond 94804


Deli Manjoo

A custard filled corn shaped freshly made cake. 50 cents a pop. Best warm. Yum.


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