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.