Vietnamese in Downtown - A "Blossom" Report
Recently heard the owners of China Town's Via Cafe opened a Viet spot in the Old Bank District Downtown. Thanks to tips gleaned from Chowhound, J Gold, Oishii Eats, etc, I've had the good fortune of experiencing a wide array of Vietnamese eats over the past few years and have become border-line fanatical about favorites like Golden Deli, Brodard, Mr. Baguette, even Blue Hen.
As a Downtown resident and worker who makes frequent, tiresome lunch and dinner trips to the SGV and day trips to Westminster of all places - I was amped to hear about a potentially legit place within walking distance from home/work!!!
Bottom line: Blossom Restaurant is a great little addition to the downtown eat-scape. It's not the "for us, by us" type of place that one would expect in traditionally Vietnamese hubs of the city, but something not all together different. A tiny place run by young, urban, Vietnamese-American owners with barren walls, exposed kitchen, street noise, concrete and cranked up jazz - it's menu stays pretty true [more so than the fusiony leanings of Via] and food is the absolute focus.
Started with Cha Gio. 4 to an order here [not 5], skinnier and not as haphazardly rolled as the Golden Deli standards. Blossom's spring rolls were surprisingly fresh-tasting and cleaner than what I've become accustomed to at GD and Vietnam House. After taking a bite without the complements - I rolled one up with some herbal pickings from the relatively ample table salad, pickled/shredded carrot & daikon, cucumber and took a bite... Wow. My taste buds weren't calling for San Gabriel. They must be doing something right.
Mains were split between two of us... Com Suon Nuong and a bowl of Pho Chay. The Com Suon Nuong - two nicely charbroiled, garlicky pork chops - was served with a fluffy tomato paste fried rice and a side salad. Again, nicely charred, but tender not dry. Towards the end, I didn't hesitate to pick these up and eat off the bone... hound status.
The veggie pho broth was surprisingly tasty on it's own [chicken stock?] - with harmonious hints of ginger and cinnamon - and didn't seem as MSG laden as bowls I've had elsewhere. My dining partner isn't a fan of adding Sriracha, hoisin or lime but she's game for all the herbs, mint and sprouts. I found the straight-laced veggie tastes comforting that rainy night. Noodles were a dried, prepackaged variety... Good stuff. I wondered aloud how the Pho Dac Biet would turn out on my next trip. I'll soon see...
Blossom serves a variety of teas and other interesting drinks which are as tasty and expertly made as Via Cafe's. Unfortunately, at this early, quirky and kinky stage in the service game - they were never refilled. Other than that, not a complaint to discuss. Here I must mention that nearly every table was filled... a good cross section of folks from neighboring lofts, a young Vietnamese mother and her two kids... and the take out business they were doing was brisk. With a few additional servers/staff, this place will be a well oiled machine.
I'm pretty ecstatic that they're on the block and am sure other Downtown hounds will [and do] feel the same. Getrification via authentic Vietnamese restaurants? Only in LA. Can't wait to master the rest of the menu at Blossom.
426 S. Main
451 Gin Ling Way
I tried Blossom's Ban Xio last night and was delighted! The seared crepe with shrimp and vegetables comes with Thai basil and some, what is it, arugala? I wrapped little morsels of the crisp tender crepe in thai basil and arugala, dipped it in the clear broth-like sauce and it was a hot-cold sensation. Comes with a side of pickled carrots. Only seven dollars. I would have paid 15.
i think the food is quite different than pho 97. the menu is very, very different. i also work in cal plaza dos and the walk is too far and not so safe (even for a self-defense instructor). they will deliver if they're not too busy, but i like eating there best. it's an easy drive, but i park my car where i can see it.
the tables are really clean, so you'll have to mak'em stickay yourself.
Just came back from lunch there and it was pretty good. I love Vietnamese food and often eat it in SGV and this is a nice addition to Downtown LA. I tried the bun (cold rice noodle salad) with cha gio (eggrolls), lemongrass beef, and grilled shrimp. Cha gio are skinner than I'm used to, but everything was fresh, tasty, and affordable the way I like my Viet food.
That area in the Old Bank District is starting to look like a little East Village in NYC!
I'll have to try the bun next time... Went again today for lunch. Split the chicken curry, veggie crepe and the shrimp fritters. Again, everything was very fresh, very tasty.
Supposedly they will soon expand into the space next door @ the corner of Main and Winston. Good thing... Once 12 noon hit that place was packed. People waiting inside, outside, etc.
Not sure if you've been but Chinatown has many Vietnamese restaurants. (Only 5 minutes away!)
Pho' Broadway is a fave:
942 N. Broadway, #102 Los Angeles, CA 90012
The pho broth is excellent and the service is friendly.
My best friend swears by Pho Hoa. (She is Vietnamese) I believe they are on Alameda.