It’s been a long wait since a sign first went up in a Winooski Main Street storefront promising Pho Pasteur. Last week, a new paper banner offered an update: The Vietnamese noodle shop and grill will open its doors on September 16.
What separates Pho Pasteur from the crowd of Chittenden County Vietnamese eateries? Every night is ladies’ night: The crew is female, from owners and best friends Lisa Quan and Minh Vu to the other cooks.
Jennifer Le, who is Quan’s daughter, says opening a restaurant was something Vu and Quan “wanted to do forever.” The pals waited for the right location, and when Winooski’s 38 Main Street Pub closed, they eagerly rented the space. The café is elegantly decorated in a Vietnamese style with colorful art from their homeland.
Le says to expect all the standard dishes, including pho, and an assortment of rolls with fillings such as mixed veggies, chicken and whole shrimp. But Quan reveals that she has other tricks up her sleeve. She says Pasteur will be Vermont’s only spot to get Bò lá lÓt — spiced beef rolled into pepper leaves — which is the Vietnamese equivalent of dolmades.
Among the rice and noodle dishes, Pho Pasteur offers Korean-style beef short ribs and “diced” beef stew. All meats are charbroiled, including pork meatballs that come stuffed into rice-paper spring rolls. Quan notes that, in the near future, she will offer a make-your-own roll option: Plates will arrive covered with grilled pork, vegetables and noodles ready to be stuffed into rice paper right at the table.
Diners can wash down the fare with fresh-squeezed limeade or smoothies made of avocados or strawberries. Expect to see lots of local pho fiends checking out the place in the next few months...