I think this is the first time in this blog’s (short) history that I’ve gone to a restaurant twice before I could write a post about it.
Here are the basics:
The restaurant: Pagolac.
The cuisine: Vietnamese.
The neighborhood: Civic Center/Tenderloin.
The vibe: unpretentious, “home-cooking”; the kind of place where you have to walk through the kitchen to get to the bathroom.
I’ve never been to Vietnam, but I’d suspect that the food there might be a lot like the dishes they serve at Pagolac. Fresh rolls that you make yourself with well-seasoned, just-off-the-grill meats and a huge mound of veggies. Interesting combinations like shrimp balls wrapped around sugar cane and tiny beef sausages wrapped in some type of leaf that I can’t recall.
SB introduced me to Pagolac over a month ago. As we walked through the seediness that is the Tenderloin, I hoped that SB knew where she was going, and that it wouldn’t be far. Luckily, we got there just fine and even beat the dinner crowd. As usual, we were gluttonous and ordered way too much. We each ordered a DIY fresh roll entree, which came with grilled meat on top of cute little saucers of vermicelli and a gigantic plate of veggies: lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts, radish, mint, and basil. They also provide a bowl of hot water to soak and soften the rice paper wrappers. My rolls were really ugly (hence the lack of photos) but they were very delicious! SB ordered the same thing except with grilled beef.
SB and I also ordered a clay pot with chicken and tofu. Like I said, we’re gluttons.
Several weeks ago, KH and I went to watch Wicked at the Orpheum Theatre. Due to its proximity to the theater, I suggested going to Pagolac before the show. On my second visit, I wised up and convinced KH that we only needed to order two dishes, so we shared one order of DIY fresh rolls and one order of bun (vermicelli salad bowl) with sugar cane covered with shrimp ball. Both the sausages and the shrimp ball + sugar cane combo were completely new to me and super delicious. I was even more impressed the second time around at Pagolac. The servers were very friendly too. Highly recommended*!
(*Note to potential diners: They don’t take credit cards. Cash only!)