LE’S wins over diners with very affordable, comforting Pho
Vietnamese food is celebrated for its fresh ingredients and ARTFUL use of herbs. LE’s Vietnamese restaurant in Cambridge falls nothing short of this reputation. The atmosphere is loud and lively, with quick service and virtually no wait for the meal. Seating is comfortable AND perfect for an outing with friends. Extremely affordable, hearty portioned dishes are priced as low as $6.50, a college student’s dream. The menu has a broad selection of Pho, the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, offering selections of meats, seafood, and vegetarian. Dishes served with rice and traditional Asian noodle dishes add a nice variety.
After about 15 minutes of an intense study of the menu, we decided to get an assortment of dishes that would satisfy a range of preferences. To start, we ordered the crispy spring rolls filled with green vegetables and pork. Despite the greasy dough, these appies scored with a tasty filling and vinegar dipping sauce. These appetizers, like most things on the menu, also have a vegetarian option.
Next came our entrees, all different takes on the universal ingredient: the noodle. Of course we were obliged to order the famous Pho. We opted for a beef Pho, Dac Biet, with the size medium being large enough. The broth was a delicate balance of salty and savory. The scallions were the highlight of the soup, giving the broth a subtle hint of sweetness. Next was the vegetarian vermicelli, Bun Cha Gio. HERE THE taste of peanuts was slightly overwhelming but WAS SAVED BY hints of mint scattered through every other bite. The thick, doughy noodles were very filling but over all not spectacular. To complete our Vietnamese noodle sampling, we had the yellow stir-fry noodles with pork, or Mi Xao. This dish was very oily and the pork was too fatty. It is a safe dish to try if you have a sensitive stomach because the flavors were mild. However, a spoonful of the red hot pepper sauce added the spice that this dish was lacking.
This culinary experience was over all positive, considering the pricing and the reasonable quality of the food. Le’s is best for a quick dinner with friends or even a casual lunch break. What the food lacked in authenticity, it made up for in freshness, quickness and of course it was affordable. Now down to the essential question: Will we be back? Simply put, maybe.
36 JFK Street Cambridge, MA 02138
– Camille Bergsrud