Pho at Boucherie?

We’re barely into 2012 and I am already lagging on posts, but I promise I won’t make it a habit! I don’t usually make resolutions as it only provides me the opportunity to break them, but I intend on making a sincere effort to post more this year. That being said…

For the past several weeks, I’ve nursed a serious yen for some pho, but since I simply can’t condone a a $30 cab ride for a $8 bowl of soup from Pho Tau Bay (as fabulous as it might be), I’ve shoved my cravings into a corner. Last week, in an effort to save money, stay closer to home and still have a fantastic meal, John and I decided to walk over to Boucherie and have lunch. Though the pho itch was still floating in the back of my mind, it was the last thing I expected to see on the menu in the cute, lilac house on Jeannette Street.

It may come as a shock, but I actually made reservations this time and I must admit, it felt incredibly good when the waitress pushed past the crowd of snooty patrons at the door (this one woman wouldn’t even deign to look at me after I held the door open for her) and ask “Are you Miss Kim? Your table is right this way…” That pretentious lady looked at me then, oh yes indeed.

We sat down and were looking over the menu noticing all the little changes when lo and behold, I spotted pho as a “small plate” and I had no choice but to give it a try. We placed our order and watched while the pompous woman ogled our spot with obvious jealousy and irritation…much to our pleasure.

To start, John chose the Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad that came topped with thick shavings of Parmesan and bright green, basil croutons. It’s been on the menu at Boucherie for a while and I had tasted it before, simple and delicious. My dish was, of course, the Pho with Smoked Lap Chong (dried pork sausage) meatballs and rice noodles. Along with the bowl of steaming soup, they served a plate with fresh basil, mint, sliced jalapeno, bean sprouts and a couple of squirts of what was unmistakably Sriracha and hoisin. While I loved the presentation, the ever-present aromatics like cinnamon and star anise, and what I am sure was a very trying recipe (making the broth for pho is more than arduous), the flavor fell a bit short of what I was hoping for, lacking the many-layered, meaty depth that is so often found in a typical Vietnamese pho. I certainly applaud the chef on his effort.

The dining room was packed, with more people waiting at the door, but our dishes kept coming out in a very timely fashion. Before we knew it, our server was swooping in to pick up our empty plates and bringing us new ones. For his entree, John selected the Pulled Pork Cake with Potato Confit and topped off with a bright, Purple Cabbage Cole Slaw. Like any of the “BBQ” items at Boucherie, this was wonderfully juicy pile of smoky pulled pork that practically melted in your mouth with each bite. Strangely enough, I chose something similar, the Cuban Sandwich. Thick, saucy hunks of roasted pork dressed with red wine mustard, pickled roasted poblano peppers, ancho aioli and house made, fresh mozzarella were pressed between two, cripsy slices of buttered and toasted bread. The cheese was slowly oozing out of the sides and as one man passed by my table, he pointed and said “I’m getting that next time!”

At last, it was time for dessert and since John had never tasted it before, we chose the Thai Chili Chocolate Chess Pie. I guess our server was getting a bit frazzled by the crowds though, because what came to our table was their Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding. Laughing, I informed her of the mistake and she said, “No worries, I’ll bring you a slice of that too…” Needless to say, we ate the bread pudding, which is sinfully decadent, moist and lighter in texture than you’d imagine, and then took the chocolate pie home. Later that night we devoured that chocolaty, spicy sweetness resting in a buttery, flaky crust and it was just as fabulous as we thought it would be.

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