Vina Pho & Grill

by Lowell Bleiweiss on May 15, 2011

Fish sauce.. what the hell is it? It’s not fishy. What gives? My brother and I got into this argument the other night at Vina Pho & Grill, a brand new Vietnamese restaurant right here in Boulder. He said it didn’t have fish, I said it must. Luckily, our waiter overheard us and came over to settle the debate. Turns out fish sauce really is made of fermented fish — one for me, none for my Big Bro, a good start to any night.

In addition to the knowledgeable waiters, Vina also serves some of the best Vietnamese food in town. We started out with the Beef Carpaccio with an herb and lime dressing, and an order of Spring Rolls, a staple of any good Vietnamese restaurant.

The Beef Carpaccio was the single best appetizer I’ve had at any Vietnamese restaurant I’ve ever been to, and that’s saying something. Carpaccios are typically raw, but the dish is very lightly-seared thinly-sliced beef topped with a dressing. It was light, fragrant, and had just enough delicious herb and lime dressing to dip every piece without drowning the meat. The portion size was rather large, easily enough for our table of 3, and at $9, it better be enough for the table. It was well-worth every penny though, kudos Vina.

The Spring Rolls were pretty standard fair. They are noodles, lettuce, and sometimes meat, mint, and cucumber wrapped in a thin rice paper, usually served with a delicious peanut sauce. While the rolls at Vina didn’t stand out like the Carpaccio, they were quite good and I would order them again.

For my main course, the waiter recommended that I try the Pho, a house specialty — so special in fact, it was on the page before the appetizers on the menu. This was for good reason too. Like the name says, this place knows their Pho, it was the best Pho I’ve had here in Boulder. Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, traditionally served with rice noodles and meat or veggies in a beef broth (vegetable broths are available too), and a plate of assorted herbs, lime,  bean sprouts, and jalapeños for the customer to add as much or as little of as they please. I suggest adding a little hoisin sauce too.

Enough about the food, it may have been delicious, but there’s certainly more to a restaurant than just the food, and Vina doesn’t disappoint there either. When you walk into Vina you are greeted by friendly waiter and warm colors. The walls are nicely decorated with Vietnamese artwork and decor, this would be a great place to take a date.

While the attire is casual and the prices fair — $4 for the Spring Rolls, $9 for the table-sized Carpaccio, and $7.50 for the medium Pho — the atmosphere is friendly and inviting.. and if you’re nervous with your date just argue about the fish sauce for a while. For those of us strapped for cash, you could get a filling meal for $10 including tip.

If this review hasn’t been enough of a glowing recommendation for Vina Pho & Grill at 30th and Canyon next to the UPS Store, consider this; on my way out I saw a Vietnamese waiter-friend of mine from another local Vietnamese restaurant cozying up to a nice bowl of Pho on his lunch break. If that isn’t enough to get you out the door to Vina right now, I don’t know what is.

Hello, I recently got your windsach sprouts from Glacier Valley CSA and they were great, and I look forward to more! I have recently started to grow my own as well via mason jars. I have several seed packs some of which include Alfalfa. I have read mixed opinions concerning Alfalfa sprouts on the internet. Some claim no issues, while others say that the Salmonella possibilities and then the effects on the immune system/blood are bad for you. The salmonella possibilities are related to poor rinsing? And the immune/blood issues seem to be more related to eating high amounts of them? Thanks for any info you can provide.Herman EllembergerEagle River, AK

by Becky on March 25, 2012 at 12:17 pm. Reply #

Nymeth – That was my thought on Mouse Guard, it’ll be good when my eyes are tired of reiandg print. You’ve got double duty (reader and hostess), thanks for that and happy reiandg! :)Andi – Thanks. I think it may be time to start on some of those snacks… ;)Chris – I just thought of Hugo Cabret last night. Not sure I’ll get to it, but who knows. Wish I could share my Pocky with you! :)Iliana – No chocolate? What were you thinking? :Pchain reader – Thanks. The headache isn’t horrible but still quite annoying. I’m just trying to forget about it. :)

by Carlos on September 12, 2012 at 1:02 am. Reply #

Look at those yummy snacks – Can you beeilve I didn’t store up on snacks yesterday? Grr… I may have to make a quick run to the store. There is no chocolate in the house and that’s not a good thing :)

by Shalini on November 27, 2012 at 6:22 am. Reply #

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