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chopsticks

3616 SE Hawthorne Blvd

Chopsticks on Urbanspoon

Price for 2 (with tip) $16

Date of visit: 12/21/09

The Chopsticks on Hawthorne is one of four restaurants so named in Portland. Is it a chain or just a common name? I have no idea. But I do know it was a place we drove by a million times without even thinking of eating at. Sandwiched between the Bridgeport Ale House, and some sort of retail establishment, the somewhat classy Asian restaurant almost just blends in. Once we did tune into it, there was still some hesitation, because from the fancy sign and ornate decorations, frankly it looked expensive. But we finally made it inside actually right before embarking on this project, and made it back for the official review right before the end of 2009.

While there are some pricier items on the menu, this place has an incredible (and cheap) lunch special. The lunch menu has two basic routes to go: stir fried items with rice (choice of white, brown or fried) or noodle dishes, which come with salad and an egg roll. Either option comes with Hot and Sour or Egg Drop soup, and both times I’ve gotten the Hot and Sour, so I guess I must like it! No but seriously, it was made with basil, which made it a bit unique and fairly tasty.

On this trip I went with shrimp with broccoli, mostly because it was an option. Usually the lunch menu doesn’t even have chicken with broccoli as an option, so I happily paid the extra buck for shrimp instead of beef. Jared got General Tso’s Tofu, another somewhat unusual menu option. And in general the menu here is just that: a little bit different than your standard Asian. I suppose it’s definitive Asian fusion cuisine, and everything I’ve had was flavorful and relatively healthy (read: not dripping in grease.) Plus one for Chopsticks and another good Asian spot to try on Hawthorne.

Veggie options: lots, although neither soup is technically vegetarian as they are made with meat broth

Speed: quick and easy

General Tso's Tofu

General Tso's Tofu

Shrimp with Brocolli

Shrimp with Brocolli

Pho Van

Posted by Brooke in Vietnamese - (0 Comments)

phovan

3404 SE Hawthorne Blvd

Pho Van on Urbanspoon

Date of visit: October 14, 2009

Price for 2 (with tip): $26

Though we’ve been to Pho Van’s 82nd Ave location many times, this was the first visit to the somewhat more swank Hawthorne location. On the corner of 34th and Hawthorne, the booths here are divided by ornate woodwork, and the light fixtures are especially awesome, but this is a food blog, not about interior design. And since I’ve been to another Pho Van location, I knew what to expect in terms of food quality. The real test was the ambiance, and of course, the lunch specials.

Ironically, Pho Van seems to have an anti-lunch special. $5 Pho from 11am-12 and then again from 3-5, in other words, not during the prime lunch hours. I guess it’s understandable, as the restaurant during the noon hour was packed, and at first I thought we may actually have to wait to be seated. Luckily there was one giant booth waiting for us and we were seated quickly.

We started with Veggie salad rolls, which would have been better with shrimp, but that’s our fault, not the restaurant’s. For the main course, I went with the usual, Pho Ga, or as I like to order it, chicken noodle soup. What can I say, I am from New England, we don’t even have Asian restaurants… Pho Van doesn’t offer a Veggie pho, so Jared went with a chef’s vegetarian special consisting of wide rice noodles, tofu and vegetables. The tofu was cut like crinkle cut fries which seemed odd to me, but Jared seemed to enjoy his meal. The Pho, which luckily comes in two sizes (I got small and couldn’t finish it), was delicious as expected with light and dark meat chicken and plenty of fresh veggies to mix in.

Then the bill came. The issue with Vietnamese food is you can get the very best versions of it at the dirtiest places, for dirt cheap. But at Pho Van you are definitely paying to sit in a nice place. $26 for both of us, not outrageous, but certainly not cheap, especially considering neither of us got drinks. But overall, Pho Van gets a thumbs up.  I think I’m definitely more likely to hit up the one on 82nd though; it has more seating and it’s own parking lot!

Veggie options: Yes, but no Veggie Pho

Speed: Food was quick, but overall service was slow

Veggie salad rolls

Veggie salad rolls

Pho Ga

Pho Ga

Chef's vegetarian special

Chef's vegetarian special