Mei Lin Replaced by Noodle Guy
Mei Lin, best known for its frozen steamed buns for the past 15 years, has been replaced by Noodle Guy, a pho restaurant. This is the last restaurant unit before you get to Valley Supermarket (still referred to by some of us as Quong Hoa) on Valley Bl. between Vega and New. I probably won't be back in the SGV for a couple of weeks, so any report on Noodle Guy would be appreciated. Street address is 1257 E. Valley Bl. in Alhambra.
Noodle Guy is bustling due to JGold's tweet tipping off the secret menu item "Kobe Beef Pho". There was a wait for tables during Saturday lunch service. Most people order the kobe beef pho. $9 compared to the menu's mostly $6-7 options. I overheard someone order the pho xe lua (flank, brisket, tendon, tripe), AND add kobe beef!
It's a giant bowl of pho, with a noticeably dark broth. The broth isn't spice forward by any means, but there's big beefy flavor there with a nice, fatty richness. You get a hefty chunk of thinly sliced kobe beef, kind of reminiscent of Hanoi style pho with the filet chopped up and slightly rare in the middle. Accompanying the kobe beef pho is a dipping sauce of what tastes like chillies, fish sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. I didn't like it with the beef but I added a little to my pho. I also requested banh pho toui (fresh, wide rice noodles) because that is my preference when a choice between that and regular pho noodles are available.
We also tried the banh beo (rice cakes topped with shrimp); it could use some work. The batter is too thick and gummy.
With my favorite pho restaurant shuttered (Pho Minh), Noodle Guy is a good and tasty option, though I do feel a little silly asking for kobe beef pho. Will it survive past the kobe beef pho gimmick? I'm not sure, but as long as the kobe beef pho is there, I won't mind ordering it when I'm in the area.
14426 Crenshaw Blvd Ste A, Gardena, CA 90249