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7 Courses of Beef - Pagolac - Westminster - Review w/ PHOTOS

elmomonster Dec 21, 2006 07:01 PM

A Summary of Seven Courses of Beef at Pagolac. $13.99 per person.

The first course was called Bo Nhung Dam and was similar to fondue or shabu-shabu. But instead of steeping the meat in plain old hot water, the thinly sliced tenderloin is swished around a simmering vinegared broth in a metal bowl. The acidic brew cooked the meat in seconds and added a noticeable zing. The tart and tender flaps were then to be wrapped up with more herbs and rice paper before consumption.

The stubby meat stogies dubbed Bo La Lot packed a wallop of flavor, of beef and of spice. The la lot wrapper had peppery overtones, and felt like a cross between grape-leaf and nori on the palate.

Paired with it was Bo Sate, rolled pieces of grilled tenderloin with a slender sliver of ginger hidden in its center. Supremely tender since it was essentially nothing but filet mignon, it ate like a steak, but with no cutting utensils involved.

Bo Cha Dum were steamed spheres of ground beef, packed with mushrooms, peas, and bean thread noodle. Crumbly soft and pleasantly fatty, I placed it on top of a shrimp chip before I ate it, and ooh-and-ahh'd when I felt the contrasting textures dancing in my mouth. The crackling crunch of the chip led the tango while the moistness of the meat followed in a perfect lockstep all the way down the gullet.

On the same plate as the Bo Cha Dum, was the Bo Nuong Mo Chai, round balls of ground beef sausage seasoned with a touch of five-spice. Wrapped in caul fat, the bundles self-basted during broiling. The result was a scrumptious and smoky beef nugget which needed no additional accoutrements. These were the best meatballs, Swedish or otherwise, that I've ever tasted.

The second to the last course, was a salad. Not just a salad, of course, but a beef salad named Bo Bit Tet. More slices of cooked tenderloin, this time sluiced with Italian dressing, adorned a bed of butter lettuce. The pointedly tart vinaigrette worked to balance the richness and the cool lettuce leaves refreshed the palate even further.

Last but not least was the Chao Bo, a clear soup with cooked rice, minced beef, green onion, ginger, and most inexplicable of all, itty bitty pieces of star pasta -- the very same kind you'd find in a can of Campbell's Chicken and Stars. Regardless of the oddity, the soup came perfectly timed as a reprieve from an impending beef overdose. It was the equivalent of downshifting to first gear before rolling to a stop.

Pagolac Restaurant
(714) 531-4740
14580 Brookhurst St
Westminster, CA 92683


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    silence9 Dec 21, 2006 08:34 PM

    Hi Elmo... Great review/photos! I couldn't help but notice (from the photos) that Pagolac's presentation of Bo 7 Mon looks so much more aesthetically appealing than my usual Valley standby, Pho So 1. Now, I order the 7 courses at Pho So 1 almost every time I dine there, which is to say that I dig the grub! However, now comparing what you had at Pagolac with Pho So 1, I see that there is certainly room for 'upgrade' to the traditional beef fest. Pagolac's version looks just so much more, well, garnished and attractively presented. Also, it sounds as if the courses descended upon you in some semblance of linear progression, whereas at Pho So 1, the 7 courses all arrive within perhaps 5 minute timespan. I never knew that one could experience all that beef, veggies, herbs, and soup as actual *courses* or that the soup was a last course. Will have to broaden my horizens and look for elevated standards. Thanks for showing us how/where the bar is raised! **Addendum: just took a gander at the last photo, and now recognize the chaotic carnage of the spent meal, whcih looks much more familiar to my experience :-).

    1 Reply
    1. re: silence9
      elmomonster Dec 21, 2006 10:43 PM

      The pacing was good at Pagolac, but a few of the dishes, like the small, ready made ones did come out at the same time. It's nice that they wait until you're almost done before they bring out the salad and the soup though...so that it's still hot.

      We demolished that meal. It was definitely not a refined dining experience, since there's a lot going on, but was it ever good!


    2. JAB Dec 22, 2006 12:17 AM

      Is this the best place to get the 7 courses in OC?

      1 Reply
      1. re: JAB
        elmomonster Dec 22, 2006 06:24 AM

        Although I've only tried one other 7 Courses of Beef place in Little Saigon (which I cannot even remember the name of), I have to say that Pagolac *IS* the best place to get it. An unqualified yes.


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