Based on recs in the past I have ventured to Dorchester to eat the all beef meal at Pho2000. It's quite a haul but my in-laws are interested in giving it a try. It's been almost a year since I've been there. Can any Chowhounds let me know if they are still serving the beef meal at Pho2000 - or for that matter if it's still in business - things change fast in that neighborhood. Thanks in advance.
Still in business; they seem to have honed in on Beef Seven Ways as the specialty of the house..I just got back from a meal with Limster, MichealB, and Eric Eto...They'll have to give their opinions, but they seemed to think it was pretty tasty, and another hound dinner there in August got rave reviews...
198 Adams Street
Okay, this will be fairly humorous to those who know me, (I'm a fish-eating vegetarian...), but in the interests of getting more hounds to explore the riches of Vietnamese cuisine in general, and Dorchester in particular, here goes...
First of all, there is another name for Beef 7 Ways in Vietnamese, and it translates into something like "rolled up food you serve to each other"...I'm sure I have that wroong, and a native speaker can clue me in, but that's a lot of what it's about..
The first 5 courses are served with a pile of rice-paper wrappers, the same kind that surround goi cuon, or fresh spring rolls...You dip the rice-paper into steaming water, and into this thin, rice flour crepe you roll a combo of the beef course you're on, rice vermicelli, selections from a plate of herbs, greens, and the sauce of your choice..
Course One is a hot pot of boiling broth into which you quickly fondue your thin slices of beef...Wrap and roll..
Course Two removes the hot pot, and brings a pan over the same flame...You melt pats of butter in the pan, and then saute thin slices of sesame oil marinated beef...Wrap and Roll..
Course Three is beef carpaccio, which you mix up with cropped peanuts and a squeeze of lime juice..Wrap and roll..
Course 4 and 5 usually come together, cooked on two skewers...Four is a kind of beef-sausage wrapped in a betel leaf, then grilled, and Five is ground beef wrapped around turnip(?), then grilled...Wrap and, well, you know ;)
Course Six never seems to be a hit among my friends, but it's a beef, liver and vermicelli pate that you scoop up on shrimp chips...
Course Seven is Beef Congee, or rice porridge..
For how these actually _taste_, you'll have to wait for a carnivorous hound to fill you in, or go yourselves! This meal is served to a minimum of two people, and it's $29.00 for 2...You can watch everyone around you for visual aids, and the waitstaff is really friendly.
Pho 2000 seems to be the only place around doing it, but there are SO many new places opening and closing in Dot, it's hard to keep track...While you're there, make sure you get their jellyfish and shrimp salad, which they also have the best version of, IMHO...
Another name for beef 7 ways is "bo bay mon" which translates to exactly "beef seven ways". At Pho2000, I believe you can also get a very similar thing to bo bay mon, but instead of just beef, you can get shrimp, squid, etc that you can cook at your table and eat the same way. On the menu, there's a section called "fondue" that will give that "bo bay mon" experience.
And if you don't want to cook at your table, there are dishes that are already cooked for you but you style get to wrap your food up in rice papers and dip.
If there's anything you don't see on the menu, just ask and they will likely accommodate you. My wife rarely orders what is exactly on the menu.
As a fallen vegetarian who now eats most meats but rarely eats beef, I can say all 7 courses of Pho 2000's beef 7 ways are yummy enough to overcome my squeamishness. It's fun. It's cheap considering what you get. And it's so filling you'll likely have the last course to take home and eat the next day. Staff is very friendly and helpful. Definitely worth a try.
It was driving me crazy, trying to fugure out where I heard the "food you wrap.." phrase...(A wine-involved evening, no doubt) So, I wrote to Mai Pham, the author of "Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table", and here's part of her reply.....
".We have a phrase in VN that says 'cuon banh trang' which means wrapped in rice paper (and understood that it is eaten with a range of accompaniments like lettuce, herbs, cucumbers, etc.)and that could be used to describe a dish within the Bo Bay Mon category, or any other dish eaten this way."
Where I got the rest of my translation, I have NO idea! :)