Sequels. You’re excited when you hear about them. A followup to a good thing. You want it to be so good, but you’re also afraid that it’s going to be so bad. Anh and Chi is a sequel of sorts: the younger kids following in the footsteps of their parents. But instead of donning the greasy hand-me-down apron and keeping it as-is for the regulars, the kids redid the interior, the menu, and practically everything else in opening Anh and Chi.
With this new change came a much brighter, more modern interior. While Pho Hoang was not dark by any means, Anh and Chi also changed up the traditional bar, replacing it with a large, open bar which would feel right at home at a club or a trendy gastropub, although felt a bit out of place and took up quite a bit of prime seating space – but I guess that’s the Asian in me talking: “More seating! Less waiting!”
We ordered (what else?) pho and Bun Bo Hue, but with a side of fried chicken wings. The wings were over-rendered, almost emaciated, but packed a decent flavour. The pho was light, very slightly sweet, with a clean finish – but lacked depth. The Bun Bo Hue had a good tasting broth, with just a bit of sweet and spiciness to it. Sadly, the kitchen had run out of tripe, tendon, and pork cheek so almost all of our orders were missing some component – surprising for a first order on a Saturday. Felt like there were some operational issues that still needed working out.
Appetizer portions were on the small side, with a (tasty) single spring roll coming in a large arrangement with lettuce, which the server explained should be eaten with the lettuce wrapped around the roll. My coworkers had warned me that their hipster servers might also actually try to teach us how to eat pho, it (sadly) did not happen.
Overall, the pho was just average, and although the appetizers were good, the price-to-portion ratio was on the higher side, which, considering the trendiness, wasn’t too surprising. Anh and Chi is definitely one of the new trendy, “higher-end” (well at least for pho) Vietnamese joints, but just like a sequel, it feels like it doesn’t quite hit the mark as well as the original.
Here’s our review of the pho!
One size: $10-$11
Beef: decent portion, tender brisket, but missing tendon & tripe.
Noodles: soft, broken noodles.
Broth: very slightly sweet, clean finish, not much depth.
MSG amount: average.
Presentation: 2 out of 4
Overall: 7.0 out of 10