I recently visited Mai Pham’s clever eatery, Lemon Grass Asian Grill & Noodle Bar, located inside La Bou Bakery and Cafe on Howe Avenue. Here, two very different dining concepts&emdash;American sandwiches and Southeast Asian street food&emdash;are elbow to elbow in one spacious place.
The meal was fabulous, from a huge, aromatic bowl of beef pho (the traditional noodle soup of Vietnam) served up with beautiful sprigs of basil, bean sprouts, lime wedges and sliced jalapeÃ±os, to creamy green curry, loaded with sweet prawns, zucchini and bamboo shoots. The chicken salad rolls were fresh and palate-cleansing, and the pad thai noodles were judiciously sauced and brightly flavored.
The menu offers several salads, including a ginger sesame chicken salad and a spicy tofu salad, and a handful of noodle bowls. Prices are modest (the pho is $7.25, the green curry $8.25â€“$9.50) and service is fast.
I noticed diners at many tables had ordered from both sides of the restaurant, some eating curry while their companions ate sandwiches. I admire Pham’s decision to partner these two dining options and look forward to visiting again very soon.
945 Howe Ave., Sacramento; (916) 920-0974