Magasin Vietnamese Cafe – #PhoDown
July’s #PhoDown took us Uptown to Magasin Vietnamese Cafe – known simply as Magasin to pretty much everyone who visits. Magasin opened a couple of years ago and really set off the whole “Vietnamese food Uptown craze.” New Orleans and the surrounding areas have been home to some fantastic Vietnamese restaurants for years and years, but in recent memory, the principle neighborhoods of the city had been lacking in Vietnamese food. No longer! We now have many Vietnamese restaurants to choose from, and I’m so thankful for that.
Earlier this month our #PhoDown krewe met at the small but chic eatery. We had about five ladies from the normal group, and my lovely niece Macy joined us since she was staying with me for a few days in July. All in all, we had a great time, but we did have to wait about 20 minutes for a table to open up. It’s very small in there, and they will not seat you until your entire party has arrived. BE ADVISED. But once we sat, it was a good experience.
Let’s get to the food…
We started out with a plate of spring rolls. We’d ordered three different types, and they were kind enough to put them all on one platter for us. Since we have vegetarians among us, we ordered Garlic-Fried Tofu and Shiitake Mushroom spring rolls. The third option was a Chinese Sausage and Egg spring roll. They were all pretty good. Nothing exceptional but very solid. As per usual, the rolls were served with a peanut dipping sauce.
I’m a big fan of shrimp toast. We had some really good shrimp toast at Three Happiness back in December so I always want to try more of it when I see it on a menu. Well, Magasin didn’t have shrimp toast, but they did have panko shrimp balls. Which were pretty good. I still rather my beloved shrimp toast, but this did the trick in a pinch. The dipping sauce seemed to be made of a little sweet chili and maybe some fish sauce. Sometimes it’s hard to discern what’s what in these sauces. I wish I were better at it!
Finally, the pho! The title slide photo up top at the beginning of the post is the vegan pho. Two of our attendees ordered it, and I kinda wish I’d gotten it. So delicious looking and full of fresh veggies. My kind of meal. But since I hadn’t been there before, and all the menu said was “vegan pho,” I didn’t know what to expect so I just went with my rare beef pho. Next time! Next time, I will get the vegan pho.
So what I had was the standard rare beef pho. It smelled amazing when it came to the table. I had very high hopes that this was going to live up to the five-spice filled, delicious broth of Pho Tau Bay (still my favorite to date). Alas, no. It was good, don’t get me wrong. But I keep chasing that perfect bowl of pho like a fool. And cannot seem to find it again. But that’s okay, I’ll keep trying. I will happily keep trying.
In the end, Magasin is a good, solid place to have pho. It’s better for small groups, and if you live in the area, I’ve been told it’s great for take out. But if you live in the area, then you probably know that already! What about you – have you been to Magasin? What are your thoughts?
- Address: 4201 Magazine St,, New Orleans, LA 70115
- Phone: 504.896.7611
- Hours: Mon-Sat 11a-3:30p; 6p-9p
- Web: MagasinCafe.com; Also on Twitter, Yelp and Urbanspoon