Bamboo.

Been to Bamboo yet? This Vietnamese & Thai restaurant is located on Division Avenue. And before I go into anything else, I must make an important statement:

Do not order the pho. 

Now, don’ t think that this review is going to be a negative one. However, if you are indeed a fan of this famous Vietnamese noodle soup, you will be disappointed here. It’s only decent. Of course, this is in comparison to other places I frequent. I have had worse, and I have had much much better. Still, if you’ve never had it, or perhaps you just have a crappy palate, you might actually enjoy it.

Moving on.

Bamboo Clam App.

Clam appetizer. The minced garlic was great but overall it was too salty and I kept biting down on bits of shell?

Bamboo Soup.

This soup came with my entree, and it was freaking delicious. Spiced nicely, peppery with cilantro, green onions and rice. I wish I could eat this every day.

Bamboo Bun Dac Biet.

Bun Dac Biet. Char-grilled pork with pork meatballs, egg roll, mint, shredded pork, lettuce, and bean sprouts over vermicelli noodles. You can drizzle or pour the sauce over your bowl, which is on the sweet side. I think there is fish sauce in it as well. I love this dish. The simple vermicelli noodles with the different types of pork, the crispy salty egg roll, and mint and bean sprouts to freshen and liven everything up. Of course you add fish sauce, and what an eclectic and delicious bowl of food!

The interior is interesting and a little busy. The service here is always warm and there is a sweet lady who walks around to check on all the tables. I’m guessing she is the owner. Their prices are at a $-$$ range. So again, if you’re looking for pho, don’t come here. If you’re looking for good food and hospitable service? Bamboo it is.

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Pho Challenge #1. Golden 28.

Accompaniments.
Accompaniments.

I forgot to take a photo of the fresh spring rolls. The thin slices of pork, shrimp, and the rice paper were surprisingly warm. Usually when I order these appetizers they are served cool, and though that is likely a sign that the rolls have been sitting out for a while, I actually prefer them that way. The pork was a little dry, but the shrimp was good and more fresh than how other restaurants serve them. A side of the typical peanut hoisin sauce with sambal was served for dipping. The spring rolls were good, but again, I don’t like them as much when served warm.

The garnishes here are Thai basil leaves, sprouts, lime wedges, and Thai green chilies. Sprouts were fresh. I love Thai chilies, but with pho I have gotten accustomed to jalapenos as an accompaniment instead. I think the slight sweetness in them is a nicer complement to the pho.

Special Combination Pho.
Special Combination Pho.

I always choose the Special Combination bowl, which entails thin slices of rare and well done beef, tendon, tripe, and beef balls. They added a lot of green and thinly sliced white onions in the soup, which I loved. Now, I have a ritual. I need to try several spoonfuls of broth before I add a single thing to the bowl. Then I try the noodles, the beef, and after that in goes the basil, chili peppers, fresh lime juice, and sprouts. I only go for the sriracha if there isn’t any chili oil available, and even then I add enough just for the spiciness to kick in. (Sriracha has too much sugar in it and would taste much better with less. Awaiting backlash on that one, pansies!) The broth was good, savory, and slightly sweet. The noodles were prepared well. Most of the rare beef was already cooked when it arrived in front of me, which is such a let down, and there was too much of the well done version for my liking. However, they had generous portions of tendon and tripe, which I greatly appreciated. The quality of them were quite good as well!

This drink is called Delicious Drink.
This drink is called Delicious Drink.

This non-alcoholic cocktail isn’t really called Delicious Drink, but that’s what I would call it. I don’t remember the name, nor do I recall every ingredient in it. I believe there was lemon, sprite, and it tasted like yogurt or maybe even heavy cream as well. It was thick but refreshing at the same time with just a bit of sourness.

Overall, there is more good here with pho than bad. Onto the next restaurant!