Small Bite: Lemon Grass Asian Grill & Noodle Bar

1965

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 jalapeños, 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 $8.25–$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