In this edition, we move into the Little Saigon shopping center starting with Pho Dai Loi #2. Hoping to introduce my mother to Vietnamese food, I tried to call ahead to ask about MSG in the food (my mom is very allergic), but alas the language barrier was too great – as if in a comedy skit, my conversation with the woman on the phone quickly entered the realm of Who’s On First.
So we went somewhere else with my mom and circled back to Dai Loi #2 with the usual suspects in tow. We were very interested to see how this dining experience would go after reading a stunningly detailed Yelp review by one Buddhi G that I highly recommend you check out. Very funny.
|Ashley and Stephen kindly – and cutely – providing an excuse to photograph my surroundings (it was fairly crowded).|
|Pretty stereotypically asian decor.|
Anywhooo, as predicted by good sir Buddhi G, we were asked what we wanted to order three times within the first 60 second of arriving at our tables. This bright, asian-twist-on-1950s-esque-pastels restaurant is a large, open space populated with many pushed-together long tables, a la Lee’s Bakery, implying that you may be “sharing” with strangers/new friends during peak hours.
Once we took our sweet time perusing the menu, we were ready to order. Adam ordered the #5 – pho dac biet AKA the combination pho (recall that combination includes tripe and tendon). The large size is $6.50. Adam really enjoyed it – especially the broth. While I enjoyed it more than previous phos on BuHi, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as what I ordered for myself.
|My apologies on the blurry pic of the pho dac biet.|
|Bun tom thit nuong. I LOVED THIS SO. MUCH.|
I ordered the #28 – bun tom thit nuong ($6.50). It was a cold noodle dish with fresh greens, warm barbecue beef and shrimp, and spicy-sweet fish sauce. It was so, SO good. I loved every bite. Seriously, this dish gets 5 stars all for itself.
|Com tam ba cha suon something something.|
Ashley ordered the #36 – com tam ba cha suon (there was more but I can’t remember and can’t read the only menu I found online)($7). The menu describes it as “broken jasmine rice with shredded roast porkground pork chop, and a steamed omelet with sunny side up eggs.” Ashley liked it, as well as the soursop boba shake ($3.50) she had, which was very tasty. Of Dai Loi 2 in general, she says, “After going there a few times, I think I would feel a lot more comfortable with the rushed manner, but otherwise still very enjoyable.”
|Com chien bo luc lac.|
Stephen had #46 – com chien bo luc lac AKA vietnamese fried rice with marinated “beef chunks.” He also ordered and iced espresso with condensed milk ($3), which was a fun and fancy affair where the coffe dripped into your cup with condensed milk at the bottom. Then you remove the dripper-thingy, stir it all up, and pour it over the ice. Stephen enjoyed that quite a lot.
I was the black sheep on this one. I said 3.5 stars and everyone else voted 4. Since we average scores, it is 4 stars, and on second thought, it’s probably well-deserved. I didn’t appreciate the service, but I know that there are many countries that don’t consider being in the service industry a reason to pretend to be nice and ingratiating all the time. I also wasn’t wowed by the pho, but I have noticed this is a pattern with me, and I did loooove my bun tom thit nuong, so 4 stars is pretty fair for Pho Dai Loi #2.
Pho Dai Li #2
4186 Buford Highway NE
Atlanta, GA 30345