Though the restaurant is large and well-kept in the style of second-generation Vietnamese eateries, the food offerings are limited—mostly pho, bún, a couple of appetizers, and noodle dishes, entrees best suited for a mass audience. But the owners don’t dumb down their meals for their largely Latino clientele, or even modify them (save for the extra helping of raw jalapeño slivers that come with every pho order, of course)—this is honest-to-goodness Vietnamese food. They sell bánh mí, mí noodles, even lemongrass beef here, in versions better than most entrees offered in Little Saigon, and stock every type of Asian hot sauce available (no Tapatío, alas). On weekends, with kids running around tables, and adults reading Nguoi Viet and El Clasificado, it’s like a Republican’s worst nightmare—and a foodie’s dream.
In the wild and wacky world of food translations, few have proven more good-natured-but-incongruous than what the owners of Pho Binh in Santa Ana call goi cuon in Spanish: taquitos suaves, or smooth taquitos. Spring rolls as the greasy, crispy... More »