pho bac vietnamese rest in Elmhurst, queens
Amos...congratulations, you've just tried belachan, the fermented shrimp paste (used in lots of dishes at Pho Bac, but in very few Vietnamese places in Manhattan) that people either love or hate. You, apparently, are in the second group. The spring rolls have some really funky stuff in them...I've not figured out what it is yet, don't think it's belachan but it's certainly something fermented. I myself find them a challenge (though I do fine with most belachan usually).
Oh, wait...I just noticed you wrote "summer rolls"...I suspect you meant spring rolls (the fried ones?). If not...geez, how could anyone screw up a summer roll?
Next time you go (if there IS a next time), ask your waitier to recommend things without belachan. You'll love it. This is the best Vietnamese restaurant in town.
re: Jim Leff
Pho Bac has one dish that is very common in Hanoi (spent a semester there), but very difficult to find in NYC. It is listed on the menu as
Bun Cha Ha Noi
Basically grilled meat, and cold rice noodles which you combine in a bowl of grease and fish sauce. In Hanoi were it is sold as street food, with crab rolls ( can't find in NYC ). The smell of the meat grilling makes it impossible to walk by with stopping to eat.
Other than this dish I am not that impressed with Pho Bac.
I have had much better pho in two places,
1. Pho 92 in Flushing
2. A resturant in one of the "shopping malls" on Canal st. I don't know the exact address but it is located on the north side of canal between broadway and whatever street is east of broadway.
re: Steve Viterali
I am not sure of the exact address. It is the on the same block as Lai Food. The voice web site lists the below address for Lai Food
38-18 Prince Street, Queens (718) 321-0653
It is accross the street from the small Flushing municiple parking lot.
The resturant may have renamed itself Pho, instead of Pho 92. I am not sure.