Pho LA Fusion

Posted on 2011-09-16 13:41

765 Somerset St.
Tel: 613-680-6108
Map (to be done)

This is not a new place, but an expansion of the New Pho Bo Ga LA restaurant, which is next door. They share a kitchen.

The LA Lounge has two menus. One of them is the same as next door New Pho Bo Ga LA, and the other menu is more upscale and reflects the decor and appeal of a bar and lounge.

Prices on the upscale menu are slightly higher than the regular menu. Spring rolls are $5. Pho is $8 for a medium and $10 for a large.

This is the former location of the Thu Do restaurant.

Bowl of pho Bowl of pho Spring rolls Bowl of pho Bowl of pho
Dishes at Pho LA Fusion


Wrong Name

Sorry, I messed up the name of this place. I originally called it "LA Lounge", but in fact the sign says Pho LA Fusion.

Nice Decor

At first I thought this was a completely new restaurant, but I realised that was a wrong assumption when they provided the menu from next door's New Pho Bo Ga LA. Next door is one of my regular places to visit so of course I wanted to try something from their new menu.

I ordered a hu tieu soup. The menu choice offered a selection of up to three ingredients and gave a list of 7 or 8 options to choose from. There were lists for pho and another list from hu tieu. As JJ says, it was confusing as both lists were numbered the same. So I chose options under the hu tieu item (shrimp and tofu), but was instead brought options from under the pho item (sliced beef). It shouldn't be too much trouble to renumber the options to make them unambiguous. Hopefully it'll happen before I return. However they took back my bowl and fixed it for me.

The decor is much nicer than the old Thu Do. Not that Thu Do was bad. But it's fancy now. The place is slightly larger than before as they turned the kitchen space into seating area. As mentioned earlier, they use the kitchen from next door. There was a large-screen television showing the family channel and some television program for children was kind of distracting, but at least they kept the volume down.

The chicken broth was flavourful, and not too bad, but as I began to notice fairly soon, that was likely due to lots of MSG. Other than that, I enjoyed the soup immensely. There was lots of broth, a good amount of noodles and the tofu and shrimp were nicely done. I ordered a large bowl so had lots to eat.

The place was full that Friday, but I didn't notice a lineup. Service was fast and friendly. Ours was a party of 5 and we were able to get the big table at noon.

One thing caught my eye on the new menu, though I did not try it, was pho with AAA beef slices. Interesting... but also a bit worrying. The inevitable question is what grade of beef do they use normally? An exercise best left for the reader, as they say.

This is a great direction for the owners of New Pho Bo Ga LA. The owner(s), as I understand, have the initials LA. For a while, they tried to use the basement of their restaurant, but it wasn't the best place. It even occasionally had a musty smell. Not strong, but enough to lower your enjoyment of the food. So now they get to have more floor space and go in a new direction for their business. Not only is it upscale but it's also a bar and lounge. Looks like karaoke is available, too, though probably only evenings.

Overall a good experience. Point deducted for the high MSG levels.

Rating: 7.5

Confusing menu, but decent soup

I was surprised at first, the inside has been substantially renovated from the previous tenant - very nice, even cosy. Menu is tasteful, but terribly confusing. We put in an order on the little piece of paper with some trepidation, and sure enough two soups had to be returned. Perhaps it was our fault for not ordering correctly, but I would instead think that the menu needs to be fixed.

I started with some crab and pork spring rolls - almost like the insides of a pot sticker, similar actually to the spring rolls of the old Thu Do restaurant that this place replaced. Was $5 for two, so a bit pricey if tasty.

Anyway, the soup itself was pretty good. I ordered the Pho with Brisket, which was plentiful if a bit fatty - no larger brisket pieces at all. Lots of noodles though, and the broth was tasty. Someone else at our table said there was lots of MSG, but I can't tell myself. Also, a generous plate of basil and other toppings was provided.

A small point: the tea cups were a bit larger then usual (good), but the spoons were tiny (bad).

rating: 7.5