Pho & Vermicelli @ West Lake Vietnamese Kitchen

West Lake Vietnamese Kitchen actually had an awesome promo going on during their grand opening, where free Richmond Oval one-day passes were being given away with meals.  Unfortunately, I never got around to going during their limited time offer.  But I thought I'd give it a try anyway.

West Lake was actually previously located a kilometre or so down from their current location.  They moved from Empire Centre to this mall which is definitely not as popular and garners less traffic.  Wonder why...  By the way, I don't like their new logo.  I actually tried to find the name of the font but to no avail.  The lake of real capital letters and the socal feel of the logo really annoys me.  How does it even relate to pho? They could use that logo for fish and chips or something, but not pho!!

For some reason the interior shouts "THIS PLACE SERVES PHO" to me.  Besides for the standard two-seater tables, the furniture doesn't seem to be new and had the "pho vibe" to them.  Or maybe it was just because I was in a Vietnamese restaurant that I thought that.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Their menu, which is plastered with that lame font, also has the very popular wood-grain phone wallpaper as the background.  Anyways, they have a few specials and combos.  Rather than the conventional long list of toppings, they actually have a "create your own pho" menu where you can pick up to three toppings.  When I was there, I thought this was really complicated and just weird, but now, as I'm writing this post, I think it's kind of clever.  They also have a lunch combo for pho/rice dish + appetizer + drink for $9.

The bean sprouts here were served with the typical stuff, as well as a small red chili pepper! Usually pho places only serve the green jalapeno rounds.

This was a regular rare beef pho ($6) which counts to be apart of the "create your own pho" menu.  This wasn't my dish, but the beef apparently wasn't that great.

Here is a beautified version of the pho.

Rather than pho, I ordered the lemongrass chicken with vermicelli.  This wasn't too exciting at all.  My favourite Vietnamese place for vermicelli is Green Lemongrass, which presents their vermicelli with a colourful mix of vegetables.  The one here was quite plain with three different sections on the plate: one pile of vermicelli, another of shredded lettuce (topped with a random slice of orange), and a slice of chicken.  The chicken itself wasn't too bad.  I liked how there were crunchy edges, but the flavour was not that strong.  In regards to the vermicelli, without the usual mix of carrots, bean sprouts, cucumbers, and peanuts, I didn't really enjoy it.  I felt it was also very moist to begin with, even before adding the fish sauce.

I don't believe this place is Vietnamese owned, since they serve Hong Kong style drinks here.  Their vermicelli dish is kind of meh, and the supposedly rare beef in the pho weren't to be rare enough for my liking, resulting in beef that had leathery texture.

West Lake Vietnamese Kitchen
4800 No. 3 Rd
Richmond, BC
(604) 276-2921
West Lake Vietnamese Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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West Lake, they relocated. They used to be good when they were next to Hon's....then Pho Viet took over and promptly went out of business, haha!

It's kind of sad to see it's not that great anymore.

Did you go to this new West Lake? I can't personally say if the pho is good or not, but my friend said it wasn't that great. :(

I went to the old location, and well, "good" is a matter of POV....my POV says it wasn't $hit so it was "good", haha! But then, I don't know the first thing about good Viet Namese food....I was full when I left, that's always a good thing right? Haha!

@Peter: Haha, true! I just care about whether the beef is good (some are incredibly tough) and if it's loaded with MSG

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