R and I have been exploring the neighborhoods around us. To be honest, until recently I had never ventured across the bridge on Hyperion into Atwater Village, that part of town that divides Silverlake and Glendale. I didn’t even know it existed. I am a terrible native Angelino I know, but how can you blame me living in a city as big as Los Angeles? Anyway, Atwater’s ‘main drag’ is Glendale Boulevard, studded with restaurants and shops, including Viet Noodle Bar.
Viet’s non-descript brick storefront includes huge glass windows and doors opening the restaurant to the street. The restaurant is bright and open, filled with natural light. With no visible sign from the street you could easily walk by Viet and never know it was there. We actually found ourselves confused and lost when looking for it, driving up and down the boulevard. After a successful quick search of the address on my cell phone, we found it and by the end of the meal we were so thankful we did!
The menu is simple and straightforward. It is separated into starters, noodle bowls, and bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwiches). We decided to share a noodle bowl and a sandwich to get a full range of the menu and we started with a Vietnamese iced coffee.
The iced coffee was incredible, unlike anything I have ever tasted. The drink was cold and creamy. Condensed milk created a thick coating, while the coffee flavor remained strong. It was almost fudgy.
The beef and lemon grass noodle bowl had a gentle, mellow, comforting flavor. The clear broth, tender beef, and unmistakable flavors of lemon grass and cilantro were well balanced. The noodles were thick, soft, and chewy. Everything about this noodle bowl was brilliant.
The sardine bahn mi was by far my favorite – so much so that I went back just a few days later to have another. The baguette was perfectly airy and crispy. With each bite, the delicate crust of the baguette would crack and crumble onto the fascinating complexity of flavors that lay within. The sardines melt in your mouth and then leave it filled with an enjoyable spice. The shredded pickled carrots, daikon and cucumber enhanced each perfectly crisp clean bite. It was a wonderful attack on the palate.