Pho Bosa (formerly Bosa 1)
3355 Spring Mountain Road (last visit: December 2010).
[Bosa 1 has moved, and been renamed, since this review was written. The above name and address is current as of September 2012.]
Unlike most Vietnamese restaurants in the United States, Bosa 1 doesn't specialize in phở (although it's on the menu). This restaurant's specialty is cơm tấm (broken rice) dishes. In theory, broken rice isn't as good as whole rice, so is a favorite for the poor. In practice, some chefs use broken rice for its texture.
The menu is large, but breaks down into just a few categories. Appetizers include some type of spring roll or egg roll. Entrées are mostly variations of cơm tấm or phở. In addition to the usual beverages, there's pennywort juice, fresh whole coconut juice, and Vietnamese ice coffee.
It's a fairly small place, with about 10 tables. Informality rules; service is friendly. The only odd note was the music: All I Want For Christmas is You, and other Christmas songs.
I went alone, but was determined to try an appetizer as well an a main course. Result: no dinner required!
Nem Nướng Cuốn (Vietnamese spring roll). Four large rice paper wrapped rolls, containing pork sausage, with greens, a crunchy stick made from wonton wrappers. Dip them in the spicy peanut sauce that is provided, and it's a very good appetizer, big enough for at least two people.
Tàu Hu Ky Thịt Nướng (shrimp cake and grilled pork cơm tấm). I've never had cơm tấm before, but this version seemed very good. The shrimp cake had real flavor, although the slightly rubbery texture might be a bit of an acquired taste. The pork was standard, but a good addition to the dish.
Rau Má Tuổi Đậu Xanh (pennywort juice with blended mung bean and coconut). Hard to describe but very good. It was slightly sweet; the server called it gritty, but I would describe it as floury.
This is a simple place, far from the Strip. I doubt that many tourists will come here. That's a shame, as Bosa 1 serves food that is tasty, inexpensive, and a little different than the usual Vietnamese restaurant.
My meal was $19, including a beverage, plus tax and tip. Most people will spend a little less, as the appetizer is meant to be shared.
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