Grand Opening: Four Seasons on Larkin (Viet) [San Francisco]
Received a flyer/menu for the Four Seasons (Viet cuisine) on my way to lunch today so I figured I would give it try. The results were quite mixed.
Prices are a little bit higher than the norm for this newly renovated space ($7 apps, $8 pho, and $9 rice & noodle dishes) [-1]. Very clean and minimalist, with comfy high back padded seats [+1].
Water came warmer than lukewarm [-1], but the friendly waitress willingly replaced it with ice water [+1]. Allowed for a half order of the shrimp roll [+1], which was nice and fresh and tender [+1], but the peanut sauce was tasteless [-1]. The FW eagerly brought sriracha and chili paste in a ramekin upon request [+1], and informed me the shrimp roll was on the house [+1]!
The Bun Cha came deconstructed, with a large bowl of charred pork and meatballs in a sauce, some rice noodles, a large portion of lettuce, mint, and something that was pronounced in the vicinity of "gladjo", and a small empty bowl [+1 for being different]. The green leaf herb I had never seen before turned out to be bitter with an off-note [0 as YMMV], and the noodles were expectedly stick together [-1].
After making a couple of lettuce wraps, the FW informed me that I should put the ingredients in a bowl with the sauce. Me: I'm not supposed to make wraps? FW: <shrug> if you wish. The noodles turned out to be more manageable after getting sauced, and the whole thing turned out to be easier to eat this way [+1]. Also loved the charred meatballs [+1].
FW: Will you be back tomorrow?
Me: Huh? Maybe, but not tomorrow!
The deconstructed presentation with meat in a vinegary sauce is typical of bun cha ha noi. The herb was most likely perilla: http://www.evergreenseeds.com/vipeitt.... Wonder how this version stacks up against Loi's on Irving's bun cha ha noi...I think Loi's might also include kinh gioi on the herb plate.
Wandered in here one afternoon looking for a snack. Can't vouch for anything else, but their banh cuon dac biet (freshly steamed rice rolls stuffed with minced pork and mushrooms) was excellent.
They have an enormous menu btw.