Pho Show

Pho Show just had their grand opening this week, so I went to visit for dinner tonight since it’s so close to my office. Since it’s on the west side and it is called Pho Show, I didn’t go in with my expectations too high.

Pho Show: Thai Ice Tea

While waiting for the rest of my party to arrive, I ordered a Thai iced tea. I was surprised when it came because it looked a bit browner than the usual orange stuff I get at the restaurants in the SGV. It tastes less sweet and more bitter than the usual Thai iced tea, but I liked it. I don’t like it when the iced tea is too creamy or sweet, but this was definitely not the usual Thai iced tea people are used to.
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Benser – tasty?

I’m not really sure what the English name for this restaurant is, but it’s on the corner of Life Plaza. It initially was just a dessert place specializing in Chinese desserts like mango pudding and shaved ice, but now it’s on the hand-shaved (dao xiao) band-wagon.
Benser Tasty
The BF ordered the house special vegetarian noodle soup. The noodles were decent and chewy, but the broth tasted like a boullion cube. It seemed like someone just threw in a bunch of vegetables like bok-choy and tomatoes into a pot of water and powdered vegetable stock.
Benser Tasty
I got the house special beef noodle soup. It was supposed to be spicy, but I couldn’t taste it at all. There was a bit of the Szechuan peppercorn taste, but it was pretty weak. The broth was also lacking in depth. I had to dump a bunch of chili oil and vinegar in it to make it taste better. The beef was surprisingly tasty though and had just the right amount of seasoning.
Benser Tasty
For dessert, we shared the peanut rice-ball which is just glutinous rice balls (like mochi) covered with sweet crushed peanuts. It’s simple, but delicious.

I don’t know if it’s because they’ve only started branching out into non-dessert food, but I thought both of our noodle soups were mediocre. Next time, I’ll go somewhere else to get my noodle soup fix and go to Benser for dessert.

Ichimiann Bamboo Garden

Ichimiann Bamboo Garden
Sitting in part of an unassuming building next to a Foster’s Freeze was the most delicious bowl of soba I have ever had in my life. It may be a hyperbole, but the soba I had at Ichimiann Bamboo garden was life changing soba; I will never look at these buckwheat noodles the same ever again.
Ichimiann Bamboo Garden
The restaurant is very small with only a handful of 4-seat tables inside and two tables outside. There’s also a counter that faces the wall which was where I chose to sit.
Ichimiann Bamboo Garden
Upon entering, I was greeted by a friendly Japanese man. His English was as good as my Japanese, so we had a bit of trouble communicating. Luckily, there’s a menu with pictures on the back wall as well as a place-mat type menu in English by the cashier machine.
Ichimiann Bamboo Garden
I ordered the mentaiko orochi with cold thin soba noodles. It came with grated radish, mentaiko (spicy fish roe), seaweed, green onions, and the cold dipping broth already mixed in with the noodles. I mixed all the toppings together with the noodle, took a bite and it was like Orff’s O Fortuna exploded in my mouth.
Ichimiann Bamboo Garden
I’ve always been a fan of soba, but this was unlike any soba I’ve had before. The noodles were crisp and chewy without feeling underdone. I thought the broth was too salty at first, but as I ate more of the noodles, I appreciated the taste more. The radish and green onions brought a fresh, spicy bite to the broth while the mentaiko gave it a subtle umami taste. The small dish of pickles on the side was overkill, but I couldn’t stop eating them.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the noodles after lunch. Ichimiann also offers thick soba, udon, and different types of rice bowls, but I will definitely be back for more soba noodles. If you really want to appreciate the chewiness of the fresh noodles, I would suggest ordering the cold broth instead of the hot, since hot broth might negate the perfect done-ness of the noodles.

The bowl of noodles is definitely worth battling the 405 around LAX during lunch time and the price is just right too. The mentaiko orochi only cost me $6.50 (including tax, sans tip). The only inconvenience is that they’re cash only, but there’s a Well’s Fargo on the other side of the block.

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1618 Cravens Ave.
Torrance, CA 90510
(310) 328-1323