My dining companion has spent the past few Saturdays at Sidestreet Pho & Grill. She tells me each week the restaurant is busier than before. It’s a good sign.
When I go, we start with fresh vegetarian spring rolls ($4.50), this iteration somewhat different from most. The fried tofu is shredded to go along with jicama, carrot, yam, cucumber, lettuce, cilantro, rice noodle and roasted rice powder, all inside rice paper. It’s a full house. Instead of peanut sauce, it’s accompanied by vinegar soy sauce. The more I eat it, the more I like it.
The pho is legit. From the make-your-own option ($8.95), we choose brisket and both rare and flank steak. The broth is as soothing as you could hope for, and considering the weather, I might be back sooner than later for another bowl.
I’m not sure why Vietnamese curry doesn’t get the same love as Thai or Indian versions do, because it’s just as good. Here, skin-on chicken legs and thighs are bathed in a delightful madras curry, thickened by coconut milk and punctuated with lemongrass, ginger and kaffir lime leaves. Potatoes are cooked in the liquid and are fork-tender when you dig in. It’s served over rice, noodles or with a baguette. It’s a great dinner item but even better the next day after the flavors have become more intense.
We finish with the three-bean dessert, featuring red and green beans along with pandan jelly in a glass full of shaved ice and mixed with coconut milk. Next time we hit Sidestreet, I’m betting it will be even more crowded.
Sidestreet Pho & Grill 8560 W. Desert Inn Road, 702-473-5007. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.