Asian Niches II
When the pho arrived I threw in a couple of the hot pepper slices, not to eat them, but to let their hot oils gently slip into the soup. The lemon slices give an acidic dimension to the broth, and I partitioned out the basil so I'd have a little bit in many bites. Submerged in the hot liquid at the table, bean sprouts cook ever so slightly but keep their crunch, to contrast with the soft slipperiness of the noodles. And there was plenty of meat to dip in the hoisin-siracha mix too.
A final visit to China Gate--at which I was served a cold egg roll and a blah bowl of Cantonese seafood noodles with gritty shrimp--reminded me of why the restaurant had been off my radar for a long time. I wouldn't slog my way through the old menu, but those two new pho dishes could make it into my winter rotation.
1201 South University
Daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Vietnamese pho $8.95, Chinese entrees $5.95-$28.95, lunch specials