Naming is always a fun process (see: His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge). And if you're a Vietnamese restaurant serving phở, it can be especially fun, if only because there seems to be a vast, endless world of phở-related puns at your naming disposal. And while, yes, we too groan at the particularly bad ones -- especially when they rely on a deliberate mispronunciation of the restaurant's signature dish -- even those names can be admirably cheesy. All that wordplay of course got us thinking about other phở puns that might make for great restaurant names, if not concepts. Turn the page.
A Holden Caulfield-themed phở restaurant on the Westside. Irony intended.
Taking a cue from Golden Deli and its cupcakes, Phonut's owners -- because there is definitely more than one, plus who knows how many investors -- combined their love for hot soup and fried laminated dough into one sleek phở and cronut shop, located on Beverly Boulevard. Neither the phở nor the cronuts are very good, but that's besides the point.
A rustic eatery channeling Vietnamese countryside cooking, Topanga Canyon's pholk is located in a converted cabin surrounded by bamboo. In the open kitchen, a huge vat of phở bubbles; the aroma is so strong, bloggers and journalists will note, usually in their opening paragraph, that you can't help but smell it on the 20-minute trek from your car parked down the hill to the restaurant at the top. The Sunday suppers are popular: For $45, you'll grab a bowl and line up as often as you'd like for ladlefuls of the special soup created especially for that evening. To foster the community spirit during these weekly suppers, a movie (Paris by Night, anything with Charles Bronson) is projected onto ceiling.
Before opening this 12-seat restaurant nestled on a farm deep in Oxnard, the chef here worked on the line at pholk and had weeks-long stages at various kitchens and coffee shops in Denmark and Sweden. Applying the principles of Nordic cookery to Vietnamese cuisine, ingredients are either sourced directly from the farm or within 5 miles, and everything, from the bun to the cha lua to the fish sauce, is made on-site. The 25-course tasting menu is etched on grains of rice and presented to you in a small ramekin upon arrival. Bring your own magnifying glass.
A blissful, peaceful, positive, life-affirming phở joint in Venice, Aphomation is owned and operated by a former Cafe Gratitude employee. Thus you won't be surprised that the dishes have names that are both silly when spoken out loud and uncomfortable when seriously contemplated. Sample menu items: "I am phomidable" (egg rolls); "I am phocused" (bun with charbroiled pork); "I am authentic" (beef phở); "I am a beautiful country" (side order of raw bean sprouts).
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