Phorage, Palms

3300 Overland Ave., Los Angeles · Neighborhood: Palms (West Los Angeles)

Phorage is a locally sourced Vietnamese restaurant that elevates classic dishes with modern nuances. Inhabiting the strip-mall space formally belonging to Roy Choi’s Chego in Palms — you better believe a lot of good meals have been served up between these walls.

Chef /co-owner Perry Cheung’s name may sound familiar – he used to work as sous chef at the wildly popular, contemporary Vietnamese spot, Slanted Door in San Francisco and had a stint at ROC on Sawtelle. He along with partners Jesse Duron (Hamasaku) and Eric Cho are running the show here at Phorage. If you’ve never been before, read on for the deets on this yummy Vietnamese jam.

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Sourcing locally and using only high-quality (often organic) ingredients, you’d be surprised to find it’s a fast-casual concept. You order at the counter, grab a number and then find a seat at one of their comunal bar counters. There’s a certain rustic essence to the decor that plays nicely with its modern simplicity and charm. The place is cozy, the crowd is young, the prices are reasonable and the food is good.

I found my meal to be very “hands on” (eg. roll it up, fold it, use chopsticks, wipe your mouth, etc). It’s a fun, active experience, that requires diner participation, and that’s a good thing.

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In addition to having 3 different types of Pho (think: Vietnamese noodle soup), they serve up various rice dishes and classic Bahn Mi sandwiches (my fave!). Each Wednesday night, Chef Cheung gets to play, providing a special multi-course prix-fixe dinner inspired by seasonal discoveries at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. These dinners will run you $25-28 per person and are super affordable considering the quality of meal you’re getting. They change weekly, so you can essentially come every Wednesday and try something new.

I was invited to sample a dinner and here’s what I had:

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Perfect Vietnamese Iced Coffee – Strong and Good!

Roll it up and crunch it. Sweet. Tasty. Good!

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Course #1 Miang Thai Salad (toasted coconut, ginger,lime, fresh herbs, lemongrass sauce)

Yum, Yum! More hands on…

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(From the menu – not part of the prix-fixe) Imperial Roll… cause I just had to try it…

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Roll it up and stick it in your mouth! (vermicelli noodle, mint and lettuce)

Elegant, tasty and presented nicely. (Internal monologue: If this were a fine-dining establishment, I’d be paying a ton more for this.)

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Course #2 Washugyu Beef Carpaccio (fresh herbs, sesame rice crackers)

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Fold it up and put it on a cracker!

Who knew simple salt and pepper seasoning could taste this good?

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Course #3 Salt & Pepper Louisiana Gulf Shrimp (cilantro, green onion, jalapeño, toasted garlic)

I loved this dish. Perfectly crispy skin, delicate, flaky salmon in a light, curry broth. We ate it over rice and licked our fingers clean.

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Course #4 Over Roasted Salmon (thai curry, tomatoes, shaved kale, fresh herbs)

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Course #5 I’ve never said no to a lava cake… and I never will.

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I love that I can peek into the open kitchen in the back.

Follow them on twitter @phoragela & #phorage on instagram to keep updated with each new Wednesday night dinner menu as it changes weekly.

Enjoy!

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