Being the only Vietnamese restaurant in town so far, Ann’s Pho & Teriyaki is also an all-purpose Asian eatery catering to those who might not care that its roster of pho, udon and chicken chow mein do not hail from the same country. Recently claimed from a failed Chinese establishment with stylish booths and modern art on the walls, it puts up a valiant effort in introducing pho to the community. The pho is the pill in the ice cream, slipped in among the kung pao and other distractions. So far, its Asian customers are the only ones taking on the pho. Everyone else seems content on ordering stir fries with a side of salad and brown rice. The egg rolls here, of course, are not cha gio, but rather the same cabbage-stuffed stogies common to Panda Express and the like, served with a tart dipping sauce that could double as fruit punch. There’s an excellent fried chicken wing appetizer tossed with diced green peppers and scallions, which mirrors the classic salt-and-pepper preparations so well you conclude the restaurant is, at its heart, a Chinese one. But the pho that it produces is a good bowl. Despite slightly undercooked rice noodles and a broth lacking in anise and spice, the soup is showered with finely minced scallions and cilantro as though it were confetti. The seafood variant, with shrimp, chunks of white fish, scallops, mussels, and squid scored to look like a pineapple, is as worthy a bastardization of pho as any.
If Little Saigon is to Vietnamese restaurants as LA's seminal Chinatown is to Chinese food, then Lake Forest might be OC's San Gabriel Valley. For a bedroom community with a relatively low Asian population, Lake Forest now has more pho... More »
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