East Borough specializes in modern, "fraiche" takes on traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Behind the eatery are chefs Chloe Tran and Jason Neroni plus restaurateur Paul Hibler. Tran hails from Northern California, where she worked on her family's food truck before heading south to open East Borough's first location in Costa Mesa (this is the second). Neroni brought California-inspired Italian flavors to Venice at Superba Snack Bar and recently announced that he's teamed with restaurateur Bill Chait on a new project.
Since brunch calls for boozing, we began with a duo of drinks. For me, the Saigon Soda ($9.00), a bright blend of gin, kiwi vinegar, lime, and Thai basil. For Justin, a Bloody Mary electrified with sriracha, hoisin, and mustard greens.
To kick off the meal, an order of Imperial Rolls ($8.00), a traditional Vietnamese appetizer consisting of pork and taro wrapped in rice paper and then deep-fried. We wrapped the rolls in the accompanying large, crisp leaves of lettuce and tucked in a sprig of mint before dunking them into the side of funky fish sauce. The combination of textures, temperatures and flavor profiles was heavenly.
Justin dove into a plate piled high with Oxtail Daikon Hash ($12.00), an indulgent medley of tender oxtail, crispy daikon hash and chiles, which was topped with a fried egg, a zigzag of hoisin sriracha aioli and finished with a dusting of green onions and cilantro.
The object of my Instagram affection was the Pho Baguette ($13.00), the lovechild of a banh mi, pho and a French dip sandwich. Tucked inside the most satisfyingly crusty baguette were slices of juicy beef brisket simmered until it's fall-apart tender, bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime, chiles and, again, that killer sriracha hoisin aioli plus a "sidecar pho" for dipping that was bursting with flavor. This sandwich lived up to my Instagram dreams and then some; the Pho Baguette is one of the city's newest must-eats.
9810 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90232