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What's with The Reyn?

Will Owen Aug 15, 2009 05:54 PM

The Reyn (on North Lake in Pasadena) has never been our favorite coffee shop, but it's handy to us and a fun place to have the occasional breakfast. Friendly, smells of bacon and coffee and pancakes etcetera. But now it's closed, and there's a sign over the front announcing the imminent opening of a pho shop in that space. Anybody got a clue? Wouldn't mind that sort of place here if it's decent, but hate to lose an OK coffee shop to a lousy one.

  1. Will Owen Aug 17, 2009 05:02 PM

    THEY REYN FALLETH NOT! Got my knickers in a wad for no good reason: beginning September 9th they are ADDING pho to their current menu. So you can still get yer Ortega Skillet fix, unless you decide pho for breakfast is a better idea. Now, how good it will be remains to be seen...

    Sorry about your grilled pork, WS. Never have gotten any - can rarely force myself to get anything other than the Bun Bo Hue, or something else beefy when I'm there. I think the only grilled pork I've gotten at a Vietnamese place was some bun at the (nameless, at least in English) one outside of the San Gabriel Superstore, on the northeast corner. It was quite delicious - I got the dish with pork and spring rolls.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen
      WildSwede Aug 18, 2009 01:44 PM

      I am so glad to hear it (can still get my CFS) and (hopefully) get some good Pho (I hope to be there for lunch the first day). Will, We should plan on meeting at Pho 79 - once you get the chargrilled pork Pho (or taste mine) you will have a hard time getting anything else there. LMK. L

      1. re: WildSwede
        Will Owen Aug 18, 2009 02:22 PM

        Ready when you are, WS... although it's gonna take some hyper-ethereal pork to get me away from the multiple kinds of beef + beef balls.

        If I can fit it into my hectic schedule, I'm thinking about dropping in at The Reyn and asking when they'll have their pho menu available to look at. The ingredient choices, I've noticed, can vary dramatically from one place to the next, and I'm always cheered when I see lots of different things on offer, though that has never really been any guide to how good the dish was. There was the place in Downey or one of those burgs that had everything you can get from a cow but hair, but the broth might as well have been Campbell's. At least it was really expensive...

        1. re: Will Owen
          WildSwede Aug 18, 2009 02:48 PM

          I think you will be impressed with the wonderful flavor that the grilled pork imparts into the already-delicious broth.
          I can't imagine that they would have all the usual suspects (but who am I?) since what else do they offer those items in? It is a coffee shop with all the usual things you find in a coffee shop. Nothing earth shattering or new. Will they have all that stuff just for the Pho? If so, then I hope they have a huge influx of new people ordering it.

          1. re: WildSwede
            Will Owen Aug 18, 2009 03:53 PM

            Yeah, I guess that's not really a tripe-and-tendon crowd ;-)

            1. re: Will Owen
              a
              Ashatah Sep 10, 2009 08:51 AM

              They start serving Pho yesterday. The Pho is delicious and authentic! You can order it anyway you like it. I also like the grilled pork spring roll. It's about time we have a good Vietnamese restaurant in Pasadena.

              According to the owner the old menu is still available for breakfast and lunch.

              1. re: Ashatah
                WildSwede Sep 11, 2009 12:59 PM

                YES! I went yesterday for lunch (sorry Will). I ordered the #2 - Pho with rare beef, filet mignon $7.45. Not a tripe or tendon to be found... although the will be adding that to the menu later. Also, I ordered the spring rolls (2) one of each - BBQ pork and Shrimp (these are the only versions they offer - $4.95). The pork on was definitely my favorite. They serve the shrimp one with a darker than normal peanut sauce and they added fried shallots to it (in addition to the chopped peanuts). I could not get enough of this sauce! It was SO good - it is amazing what the shallots do to it - crunch, flavor, wonderful! Then they brought me the sauce that usually goes with the pork one - sweetened fish sauce which was also really good, but I could not get away from the peanut one (not a lot of peanut flavor). Maybe mostly hoisin? The Pho was really good as Ashatah states above. I was definitely impressed. Much better than what I was expecting.
                I also got the story of what is going on: The "original" Reyn menu (breakfast, sandwiches, etc) is available from opening time to 1pm (when they used to close for the day). Now, you can get “The Reyn Pho” menu from 11am-9pm. They have extended their hours to include dinner – BUT from 1pm-9pm it is only The Reyn Pho, not the original menu that is available. As I understood it when talking to my lovely waitress, Delilah, the same owners who have always owned The Reyn have lent out their restaurant to the Pho people so there are basically two restaurants in one space. I need to confirm it. But there definitely were different waitresses, a different manager and cook taking over the Pho part (I got there at 1 and left at 2). The original waitress was leaving for the day at 1 when I got there and Delilah took over after.
                They have a full menu – not only Pho. 4 Appetizers – Tempura Shrimp, Tempura Calamari, Egg Rolls and Spring Rolls ($4.95-$5.45). Pho, they have 4 versions: 1) Rare Beef, Brisket Beef and Well Done Flank Beef; 2) Rare Beef Filet Mignon; 3) Shrimp and 4) Chicken ($6.45-$7.45). Vermicelli: with Eggrolls; BBQ Pork; Grilled Beef; Fried Shrimp; Special with choice of 2 of the above ($6.45-$8.45). Entrees: Steam Rice Dishes with: BBQ Pork; BBQ Center Pork; Grilled Beef; Fried Shrimp; Stir Fried Diced Beef; Grilled Filet Salmon; Grilled Chicken ($6.45-10.95). Fried Rice Dishes: Shrimp w/Egg Rice; Stir Fried Diced Beef w/Red Fried Rice; Fried Chicken w/Red Fried Rice; Beef (Filet Mignon) w/Curry Fried Rice and Chicken w/Curry Fried Rice ($7.45-$9.45). Special Dishes that seem to run the gamut from several different cuisines but have the Vietnamese name typed below: Osso Buco w/red wine & tomato; Fried Diced beef w/french fries; Beef Stew; Curry Chicken; Chicken Ragout w/green peas, carrots; Short Rib Ragout w/mushroom, carrot ($8.45-$11.95). Spaghetti with either Bolognese, Carbonara or Shrimp in a cheese and pepper cream sauce ($8.45-$8.95). Grilled dishes: Filet Mignon – wrapped in bacon in a wine sauce with veggies; Grilled Filet Mignon Steak with choice of sauce (green peppercorn or mustard cream); Grilled Lamb Chops; Filet of Salmon; Grilled Spare Ribs and Grilled Chicken ($9.95-416.45).
                They let me take one of their menus since they are still working on the take-out ones. I told them I would bring it back.
                I have only had the Pho and Spring Rolls thus far, but the manager kept coming over and asking me if I liked it, had any suggestions, etc. When I mentioned they should serve the Pho with some jalapenos, she said they have it in the back, the chef must have forgotten to put some on my plate. I was fine without it since the broth was very flavorful.
                I asked about what kind of meat they use since I need to learn how to make Pho myself and she said they use Oxtails and parboil them, then throw out that water, wash the meat really well and then begin the hours-long simmering process. She told me next time to try the #1 Pho since the chef “does something special” to the Brisket. I will be trying it next time.
                Go give it a try and let us know what you think. It is definitely nice to have a decent Pho place in the ‘hood now.

    2. a
      Augusta Aug 17, 2009 02:33 PM

      oh, that's a shame. i liked the Reyn too. I loved their kooky booths and the homey atmosphere.
      seemed like that place was there for a long time too...

      1. j
        Jack Flash Aug 15, 2009 07:42 PM

        I also liked The Reyn; it had a cool, old-timey vibe. I guess I should have patronized the place more often, but we've had to curtail our dining budget, and so we almost never eat breakfast out anymore. As far as pho is concerned, I suppose a good pho place would serve that neighborhood well; for me, I can get to Golden Deli in 10 mins. or less, so I'd rather have the greasy spoon.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Jack Flash
          Will Owen Aug 16, 2009 11:52 AM

          A *GOOD* pho place would be wonderful for us; our favorite SG Vietnamese place these days is Vietnam Restaurant, actually easier to get to and deal with than Golden Deli (easy parking, seldom a wait), and the 20 minutes or so it takes is never a problem. But walking distance is better! About all we have in Pasadena is Indochine, which is a nice enough space but the food is lackluster and expensive. Never had anything bad there, just not particularly interesting.

          1. re: Will Owen
            j
            Jack Flash Aug 16, 2009 01:33 PM

            I've actually been going to Vietnam Restaurant, too. My only gripe is that their herb selection (served with the egg rolls) doesn't seem as varied as the one at Golden Deli or Vietnam House.

            1. re: Jack Flash
              WildSwede Aug 17, 2009 01:50 PM

              YES! I noticed that on Friday and almost had a heart attack. When my heart stopped palpitating I thought maybe a good Pho place in the 'hood won't be so bad. It makes me sad when small mom & pop shops close. Wonder if the same owners will be running it. Both those Vietnam places you mention are passable (and closer to home) but they are just not that great. Vietnam whatever (the one on Las Tunas(?)) has the most hideous Grilled pork. Flabby, grey, disgusting, but their Pho is passable. However, another Vietnam whatever (I am talking about the one on Baldwin south of Duarte Rd) has really, really good Grilled Pork (I order my pho with no meat, get the appetizer place of the grilled pork and throw that into the pho). The only Pho place that actually sells the Pho this way is my #1, top of the list, hands-down fave Pho 79 in Alhambra. Nothing can touch them. I am still in there at least once a week.
              On as side-note I was in Wisconsin last month and there is this restaurant in Duluth called Saigon Cafe which we stopped into (I was missing my minimum once a week Pho fix). I ordered the pho - it was HIDEOUS! I found pieces of - get ready for this - french-fried onions in the soup. To make the broth more deep-tasting. They did not have any bean sprouts or lemon/lime. It was god-awful. That is the moment I realized just how lucky we are to have great restaurants of all types surrounding us. I will never complain about the restaurants or lack of anything here again. Promise!!

              1. re: WildSwede
                t
                TomSwift Sep 11, 2009 01:06 PM

                Bold words! We will hold you to that promise.

                1. re: TomSwift
                  WildSwede Sep 11, 2009 02:51 PM

                  ;-) No problemo!!

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