There's been a lot of activity on the Vietnamese dining front lately, with the recent openings of Starry Kitchen, 9021Pho, and Tiato preceding heavy buzz on Sang Yoon's Southeast Asian Lukshon and Jordan Kanh's Red Medicine (now with 100% less distasteful communist-chic references). Tonight, XOIA soft-opens for dinner in Echo Park, with cuisine inspired by the recipes of Hoi-An, a Central Vietnamese harbor town. So what's on the menu here?
A press release informs us that XOIA will serve familiar banh mi, pho, and banh xeo, while also introducing the Hoi An specialty of cao lau pork noodles, which will be featured on a limited basis due to the difficulty of finding a solid supply of the cao lau noodle itself, potentially turning this into something like the bäco-situation at Lazy Ox. The restaurant tells us it will have a "bootleg noodle" when the kind product runs out though.
Other dishes will reach to the varied regions of VietNam, with pork belly lettuce wraps, bun thit nuong salad, and curry chicken noodle soup. Then there are the cool SoCal-Asian fusion items that scream "L.A." and are almost to be expected at tre cool spots these days. Chef Jose Sarinan, who supposedly once turned a wheelbarrow into a taco stand while studying art in Maine, melds his Mexican heritage into a pho beef taco and a birria noodle soup. Sounds fun, and it's also a pretty kick-ass, intelligent way to lure Jonathan Gold into your joint at least once.
The restaurant will open tonight for dinner from 5:00 to 9:00 P.M. and continue dinner service until a grand-opening, to be announced. A website is currently up and running and a Facebook page is on the way. Stay tuned for an update with the menu.
XOIA, 1801 West Sunset Blvd. Echo Park. 213-413-3232.