Reports have been trickling in from interested corners of the Internet (thank you, the Eastsider) that a new Vietnamese restaurant called Xoia Vietnamese Eats is opening on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, next door to El Prado in the old Par Paint space. And now I've received official word from the folks behind Xoia (say "soy-yah") that the Internet was right.
Chef and owner Jose Sarinana (who grew up in the neighborhood) plans to open the restaurant, which features a covered outdoor patio, later this month. Sarinana credits his inspiration for Xoia to the "rustic" cooking of Hoi An, a historic harbor town in central Vietnam.
The menu will include traditional offerings such as pho, banh xeo (crepes) and banh mi sandwiches, as well as regional dishes including my quang (yellow noodles with shrimp, pork and fresh mint), chicken curry noodle soup, bun thit nuong (noodle salad) and pork belly lettuce wraps.
House specialties include a pork noodle dish called cao lau, which is made from al dente short noodles that can only be found in the town of Hoi An. There is also a pho beef taco and abirria noodle soup that showcase Sarinana's Mexican roots.
On a strictly practical side note, I can't believe someone hasn't opened up a restaurant like this in Echo Park before. Judging by the pathological popularity of Pho Cafe in Silver Lake, hipsters are hungry for Vietnamese eats.
This is food that caters to vegans, vegetarians and hardened carnivores; it's next door to a popular bar; and it highlights the mixed ethnic/Latino identity that is an important aspect of this changing neighborhood.
For now Sarinana plans to open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. But I have a hunch that if he stayed open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights he'd have a blockbuster of a restaurant on his hands.
Xoia Vietnamese Eats, 1801 W. Sunset Blvd., L.A.
-- Jessica Gelt
Photos: Top, the pho tacos; bottom, the covered patio seating. Credit: Xoia Vietnamese Eats