Los Angeles, CA(Perfect Meal Today)3/4/14/–The Vietnamese explosion continues unabated, and one of the latest ventures on the Westside in the Palms area of town is PHORAGE, the latest venture from chef Perry Cheung and two partners. A nice little cozy place in a non descript mall, Perry has just launched “Farmers Market Wednesdays” which changes every week based on theingredients he picks up in the morning. The four course meal is priced at $25 plus tax and gratuities, but they do not have a beer or wine license at the time of writing so they encourage you to BYOB. They occupy the spot formerly known as Roy Choi’s Chego, who have now moved on to bigger and better things in Chinatown.
Cheung grew up in Brooklyn but moved to San Francisco in 2004 where he cooked at The Slanted Door after pursuing a career at the Le Cordon bleu institution. At the restaurant in SF he worked with chef Charles Pan and seems to have learned his craft well.
I started with the Curly Cress & Shrimp Soup w/toasted garlic and sesame oil, full of flavor and not overly spiced but served in a smaller bowl, not the size that their regular pho is served in. Phorage is slightly less traditional than other Vietnamese restaurants in the area, and MSG is absent from all menu items.
Second course that night was Yellowtail Sashimi w/oro blanco, cilantro emulsion and spicy field greens. Very light and easy to eat, just like the oven roasted red snapper that was likely flash fried an served with wild aragula, sautéed butternut squash, rice wine soy and fresh herbs.
To complement the four course special meal we ordered the wonderful imperial roll from the regular menu, crispy and far superior to Chinese egg rolls of any description.
Final course of the Farmer’s Market meal was a dessert of Pan Fried Bun w/egg custard that rounded up a nice easy going meal that was not heavy at all.
Traditional dishes such as pho and vermicelli are on the menu and there are a couple of specials like Dungeness crab banh mi and tamarind lobster stir fry. There is also a special weekend brunch menu available that features buttermilk fried jidori chicken and waffles, but call ahead to find whats up that week.
I liked the lively modern pop style music being played, and the casual atmosphere suits a younger crowd, but on the other hand older patrons who wander in here will feel that the freshness and quality of the food pays tribute to their advancing years. Reservations might be advised for busy weekends but walk ins should not be a problem even though the space is quite small and well lit.
Phorage-3300 Overland, Los Angeles.
Open lunch/dinner Monday to Saturday and brunch Saturday/Sunday.
Parking-Hit and Miss depending on time of day
287 S.Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211